Vientiane: A City Where New and Old Meet
Laos as a whole may be known for its rustic, “ancient” feel, but there are places within it where that’s changing. Vientiane is a great example. In the country’s capital, one can discover an area where the past is meeting the present, where the forward-thrust of progress and modernization runs headlong and blends into the existence of a remarkable history and heritage. And it only makes Vientiane so much more appealing to the observer.
It’s all about learning when to up the speed and when to kick back. Any Vientiane local can tell you that. The capital of Laos is a fascinating city because it genuinely offers so much of either choice that you can wallow in your preference without ever really running into the other one until you go looking for it.
You can marvel at the rising buildings all around, tour the country’s surprisingly international restaurant scene, or visit any of its cool, jazzy nightclubs. Or you can rent a bicycle and go through the old avenues, see the charming colonial buildings and head for a local water spot to sample Laotian cuisine. You can choose to have some tea or coffee while relaxing or go for something more spirited at a local bar. And you can cruise the Mekong River or sit placidly by it, sipping a cold Beerlao (the delectable local beer) as you watch the boats go by.
Vientiane’s appeal probably comes from the fact that it’s not being torn apart by the forces at work in it. The city’s past merges almost seamlessly with its apparent future. That’s understandable, in a way: tourism is what urged its development. So this only means that the Vientiane that exists now and the Vientiane being developed at the moment has a future that visitors shall undoubtedly enjoy.