people and cultures – inspiring journeys
sharing meaningful discoveries in Asia


Southeast Asia’s smallest capital is emerging from sleepier times with new development along the Mekong overlooking Thailand.

A few important historical sites are very worthwhile visiting and see below for links to:
COPE Centre
Textiles and Handicraft

Wat Sisaket  built in 1818 in Siamese style managed to survive the sacking of Vientiane by the Siamese in 1827.

The temple of Wat Sisaket lies within a cloister compound which is lined with over 2000 Buddha images.

Wat Phra Kaew, located across the road from Wat Sisaket dates back to 1565 as a personal chapel for the royal Lao family. The Emerald Buddha was housed here for over 200 years until the Siamese claimed this sacred image, now residing the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
See more:

That Luang Stupa  is the national symbol of Laos today:

Patuxay Monument-dedicated to the struggle of independence from France was built between 1957-1968 with funds and concrete left by the US, originally intended for a new airport.

Lao National Museum, originally called the Lao Revolutionary Museum offers an interesting insight to history, the struggle for independence with its take on communism.

COPE Visitor Center-  a must visit in Vientiane.
Exhibition on Cluster Bombs and where you can learn about COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) services for bomb survivors.

From 1964-1975, the US dropped more than two million tons of bombs on Laos- mostly at random during 580,000 bombing missions to target the Ho Chi Minh trail passing through Northeast Laos. No other country has ever been bombed so extensively. For those none years, Lao communities lived in caves setting up living and medical facilities while venturing out at night to plant rice.

1/3 of these cluster bombs did not explode leaving vast quantities of UXO- unexploded ordinance- killing or injuring 20,000 since the end of the war. Although much of he UXO has been cleared, many still remain posing a continued risk to people, often children in remote areas.

President Obama made a historic visit to Laos in 2016- the first US president to visit and to personally address the legacy of war.

Photo with President Obama courtesy of COPE Centre

Sadly the US remains one of the few countries yet to sign the treaty to ban these cluster bombs and they continue to be sold to countries like Saudi Arabia for bombing missions on Yemen.
It is also interesting to notice in the visitors book, how many American visitors commented that they never knew about what had happend in Laos.
Thank goodness the COPE Centre contnues to raise this awareness and may their good work helping bomb survivors continue.
Learn more on:

Textiles and Crafts:
On a brighter note, Vientiane is also home to several weaving cooperatives producing exquisite crafts.  Many of the master weavers resettled to Vientiane from the northeast during war time and today projects based in Vientiane reach out to support weavers in remoter communities.
Check out:
Saoban Crafts:

Nikone Handcraft:
Exquisite textiles and home furnishings in natural dyes. Nikone is a true inspiration in the work she has done and continues to do for sustainable livelihood in Laos.

Nikone’s workshop and showroom is located beyond Thongkhankham market around the corner from Hong Gaya Sin. Tuk tuk drivers should know to find it.
Tel: (856-20) 56-359-782 or Email:
No website but find  Nikone-Handcraft on Facebook!

Several new small, clean and friendly budget hotels have opened in this area of Wat OngTeu/Wat Mixay area between Setthathirat Road and the Mekong.  And with so many new offerings and changes, best check out listings on or  Agoda.

A few recommendations:
Salana Boutique Hotel –


Settha Palace – Vientiane’s most luxurious hotel:

Green Park – luxury accomodations in contemporary Lao style. Opposite COPE Centre and short shuttle into town center.

Back to Main Laos Page

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