Photo: Fall in love with Vientiane when you stroll along the riverfront at sunset.

Mekong riverfront at sunset

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The Mekong riverfront is important gathering place at the end of the workday, and a stroll along here at sunset is a must for all travellers -- have a drink and some snacks as well!





Look at photos of Vientiane’s Mekong riverside from only a few decades ago and you may be surprised to see that it was a tree-lined dirt road, home to little more than rustic shacks, outdoor patios and simple eateries. The river was higher back then, as the Chinese had yet to start their many damming projects upstream, and during wet season the businesses along Fa Ngum would flood.

Locals take to the boulevard at the end of the day. Photo taken in or around Mekong riverfront at sunset, Vientiane, Laos by Samantha Brown.

Locals take to the boulevard at the end of the day. Photo: Samantha Brown

Fast forward to 2012, when the city completed a massive redevelopment project along the riverside, literally paving the way for the future. Today, all of the vegetation has been cleared, the patios and restaurants lining the embankment are gone and the dirt road has been expanded into a two-way paved road.

While expats lament this development and reminisce about the olden days, locals maintain a far more enthusiastic attitude toward the redevelopment of the riverfront; at the end of the workday you’ll find cyclists, joggers, aerobics classes and Laotians just hanging out along the boulevard.

The construction goes on. Photo taken in or around Mekong riverfront at sunset, Vientiane, Laos by Samantha Brown.

The construction goes on. Photo: Samantha Brown

Families with children stroll hand in hand. Young couples sneak in some alone time together, sitting on the edge of the embankment and sharing a snack, while men still dressed in their office wear stop to unwind, leaning on their motorbike as they gaze at fishermen casting their nets or a remote control airplane making loops in the sky. In dry season, an enormous sandbar forms in the river and while walking across to Thailand would be frowned upon, you can head down and join locals in making sand sculptures, playing football, having picnics and barbecues.

The park on the eastern side has some trees, a few lovely spots of shade and exercise equipment popular with both children and adults looking for a serious workout. Jump into the fun and lively public aerobics class held here around 17:00 every day; it’s just 5,000 ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Location map for Mekong riverfront at sunset

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