The capital city of Laos, Vientiane is a popular destination for travelers to the south east Asia region, who will often see the capital cities of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand on the same trip. For visitors to Vientiane, the city has a good selection of tours and day trips offering an introduction to Laos culture and customs. Three of the best tours and day trips in Vientiane include a city tour, a trip where you’ll learn about Laos food, and a day trip to an agricultural village, where you’ll see traditional Laotian handicrafts being created.
Vientiane City Tour – I always recommend to every tourist, when you arrive in a new city, if you’re not going to take any more tours you should still take one and the best one of course is the city tour. The Vientiane City Tour, consequently, is a great tour to take to start off your vacation in Vientiane. It gets you acclimatized to the city, teaches you something about Laos culture and it’s a really fun day trip too.
The City Tour begins with the Morning Market, a mecca for those who enjoy traditional handicrafts. You’ll find silk, jewelry, wood carving, textiles, wood products, you name it they sell it. After the market, the tour will continue on to see the Victory Gate, several old temples and then to Nong Buathong, a famous weaving vehicle, where you’ll see how Laotian textiles are actually made.
Lunch is at a famous Vientiane restaurant, where you’ll sample traditional Laos cuisine. In the afternoon, you’ll walk around several old city areas, learning about the architecture, temples and traditional Laos buildings. You’ll stop for snacks and drinks along the way and eventually end up by the Mekong River to see the sunset. The day trip ends back at your hotel, just in time for dinner.
Laos Cuisine Cooking Class – One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to understand their food, which is why taking a Laos Cuisine Cooking Class is a fun way to spend half a day of your vacation.
On this best Vientiane tour, you start out at a local market where you’ll learn all about typical Laos ingredients and help purchase them for your cooking class. Then, at a local guest house and after refreshing drinks, you’ll be shown how to make perfect sticky rice (eaten in both Laos and Thailand with many traditional dishes), as well as how to make several other Laotian dishes.
Once the class has finished cooking all the dishes, you’ll eat either lunch or dinner (depending on when you take the half-day tour) from the food you’ve just helped prepare. The Laos Cuisine Cooking Class is not only fun and a great way to meet people (people tend to bond when they cook together), you’ll also learn cooking skills you can use for the rest of your life. No wonder so many say this tour is one of Vientiane’s best.
Nam Ngum Lake Tour – This full day tour begins early in the morning when you’re picked up at your hotel by the tour guide. Setting of, you’ll drive about an hour to Nam Ngum Lake, a reservoir that’s famous for its beautiful islands. On the way to the dam, you’ll also stop to see a traditional H’mong tribal village and a local Laotian market, where you can buy snacks, food, handicrafts and more.
You’ll arrive at Nam Ngum around lunchtime, which is good news as it’s time to eat at a local restaurant, and learn something about and eat some local delicacies (don’t worry, there’s nothing too nasty). After lunch, you can relax for a while as you take a long-tail boat onto the lake to see various fishing villages around the reservoir. The tour ends with a stop off at a traditional salt extraction plant, where you’ll learn how this actually takes place. Back on the bus, you’ll arrive back at your hotel in time for an early dinner (or a late afternoon tea).
The Nam Ngum Lake Tour is a pleasant way to see Vientiane’s surrounding countryside while not doing anything too strenuous.
Vientiane City Tour
Laos Cuisine Cooking Class
Nam Ngum Lake Tour