Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand.
Due to economic growth in recent times, the city is now the commercial center of Laos.
The city had a population of 820,000.
In Vientiane, there is a monument of national importance in Laos: That Luang, which is a famous symbol of Laos and an icon of Buddhism in Laos.
There you can also find other critical Buddhist temples in Laos, such as Haw Phra Kaew, which used to house the Emerald Buddha.
Compared to the hectic, bustling capitals in other Southeast Asian countries, Vientiane’s deliciously relaxing atmosphere makes it feel like the small town it is.
Warnings & Dangers in Vientiane
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Vientiane is generally residually safe. However, you should be on the alert with petty thieves and watch your things. Often your items can be snatched directly from your hands or your transport. Do not leave things unattended. Avoid any contact with drug dealers.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Public transportation may be unreliable, inconvenient, and not follow the schedule. Pickpockets can work in a crowd. Better to get a taxi. Make sure that you use only licensed taxi services and that the driver has turned on the taximeter. Or arrange a trip price in advance.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
The most common type of crime involves the seizure of wallets, usually committed by thieves working on motorbikes/mopeds, pickpocketing. You must always keep track of your things, especially in crowded places. Thieves work in groups.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
The region is prone to droughts, floods, and storms, the most common hazards, and they are expected to become more severe due to climate change. Examine the surroundings and the weather before you visit this city.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
Armed severe robberies are rare. More often, this happens against the background of drug or alcohol intoxication. Avoid the dysfunctional areas of the city, and do not walk late at night on dark streets. In case of an attack, you should immediately contact the police.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
The risk of terrorist attacks in Laos in recent years can be classified as almost negligible. However, this possibility should not be ruled out. Avoid political rallies and more massive crowds. Explore the country before your visit to Vientiane.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
Most often in Vientiane, there is a fraud with tourists when they sell non-existent tours, raise prices for trinkets, do not give change (supposedly not), they deceive with the price of a taxi ride. Keep these types of risks in mind to protect yourself.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Laos is very safe, and violence against women travelers is sporadic. Just follow the usual safety precautions and wear modest clothing. If you plan to swim in the village or on the river, a sarong is necessary.
So... How Safe Is Vientiane Really?
Vientiane is a reasonably safe city.
The crime index here ranges from low to medium.
The main crimes are related to the theft of things and vandalism.
A bag torn from guests sitting in front of a café is becoming more common.
Often, when driving on rented bicycles or mopeds, you can also tear your bag out of your hand or out of the basket of the vehicle.
Do not leave the bag in an accessible place.
If your bag is torn out, immediately start screaming: criminals rely on tourists’ reactions and are afraid to contact the police.
Another danger here is an inferior road surface.
Sometimes there are no sidewalks and sewer coverings.
Here you should be extremely careful at night.
Laos law prohibits foreigners from having sex with Lao citizens other than their spouses.
The penalty for this can be very high for tourists.
Any contact with drug dealers should also be avoided.
Drugs are illegal in Laos.
If you get caught with drugs, you face serious jail time.
As noted above, dogs – whether stray or just owned by irresponsible idiots – are dangerous, especially at night. Stay on well-lit, busy streets.
Long trousers and sleeves are recommended when visiting a temple or official offices.
How Does Vientiane Compare?
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Visitors to Laos must obtain a visa from one of the Laotian diplomatic missions or online unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries or qualify for a visa on arrival. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.
The kip is the currency of Laos since 1955. Historically, one kip was divided into 100 att. The currency has a code: LAK and sign: ₭ or ₭N.
The best time to visit this place is during the months of November to February when the atmosphere is usually relaxed as well as contain a bit of warmth. The weather feels hot for most of the year, with a fair chance of precipitation about half of the year.
Wattay International Airport is one of the few international airports in Laos and the country's main international gateway. The airport is located 8 km from the city center.
The travel insurance policy is a must when visiting a foreign country. Make sure you got it before starting your journey, the customs officer may ask for it.
Vientiane Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Laos - Safety by City