Vientiane is Lao’s capital. Happily, this city is nowhere near as congested, loud or polluted as other Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok or Saigon. Here, ancient temples compete with French Colonial period structures (there’s even a Arc de Triomphe styled archway in the center of town) and Communist no-nonsense designed buildings, which gives it a very pleasant, somewhat odd, provincial atmosphere. The market places here have everything from snake medicine to DVDs; the people are kind, and if you don’t like Lao food, you could easily have Indian, Italian, Japanese and, of course, French.

More on Vientiane please. tipsTip: The French cuisine is pretty good here. (Often better than Lao food.)
When: July 2004