14 Diversions to Enliven Your Trip to Laos
Vannaphone Sitthirath is revolutionizing the Laos movie industry. Follow the cofounder of Laos New Wave Cinema on a tour of her hometown. By David Ngo.
Published on May 28, 2015
There is more boutique accommodation than ever in Vientiane. The (1) Mandala Boutique Hotel (mandalahotel.asia), with its location set apart from the city center, is quiet and calm. Closer to the city's action, (2) Salana Boutique (salanaboutique.com) is kitted out in local Lao wood for a real luxe vibe. When I'm in the mood for a staycation I usually book a suite at the (3) Green Park Boutique Hotel (248 Khouvieng Rd., Ban Nongchanch; +856 21 264 097; greenparkvientiane.com) because I like the classic Lao architecture.
Green Park Boutique Hotel.
(4) Le Nadao Restaurant (+856 21 213 174), a 10-minute walk from the Mandala Boutique Hotel, serves a great French dinner. (5) Muzaik Restaurant (Rue Manthatoulath, Ban Xieng Ngeun) is small but very special. My favorite dishes are the spicy salmon, skirt steak, and spicy stir-fried spaghetti with shrimp roe.
The seating area at (6) Parisien Café (off Rue Dongpayna) is huge and its exposed brick walls give off a warm, cozy feeling. Sunset cocktails at (7) L'Atmosphere (facebook.com/latmosphere; Rue Simeuang; +856 20 7715 8813) come with a calming view of the Mekong River.
Cappuccino with bacon pastry and sausage hotdog from Parisien Café.
Browse the history books and old paperbacks in (8) Monument Books (monument-books.com). + Go to Carol Cassidy's (9) Lao Textiles (laotextiles.com) for handwoven silk scarves; to (10) T'Shop Lai Gallery (+856 21 223 178) for local art and photography; and to (11) Lao Coco (laococo.com) for handcrafted furniture.
Organic soap from T'Shop Lai Gallery.
Support the arts. Duck into one of the rotating exhibitions at (12) M Gallery (133 Rue Samsenthai, Ban Anou; +856 21 214 765) or (13) I:Cat Gallery (facebook.com/icatgallery). + Take a bike tour of the city. (14) Vientiane ByCycle (vientianebycycle.com) has daytrips that will give you a tough workout while you see everything from famous temples to quiet villages.