After hotel pickup in the city center, your day-long sightseeing tour begins with a stop at Vat Sisaket, Vientiane’s oldest monastery, constructed in 1818. While many temples in the city have undergone renovations over the past, Vat Sisaket has survived in its original form.
Visit nearby Ho Phra Keo, a former royal temple that once housed the Emerald Buddha but is now home to a museum of Buddhist art and sculpture. Then continue your tour to Pha That Luang, a national symbol and one of the most important monuments in Laos. It’s known for its golden stupa standing 150 feet tall (45 meters), a beloved part of the Vientiane skyline.
Your next stop is Patuxai, the city’s Victory Gate (sometimes known as Anousavali). Built in the mid-1900s, the gate echoes the design of France’s Arc de Triomphe but incorporates Laotian motifs like the Kinnaree, a mythical bird woman. (Note: Entrance fee to climb to the top of the gate is not included, but you are welcome to pay at your own expense to admire views of the city.)
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before enjoying the afternoon portion of your tour at the Lao Textile Museum, a complex of three houses built in a traditional Laotian style. The museum is home to a collection of artifacts and textiles, as well as surrounding gardens that provide a nice place to relax before continuing to Talad Sao, the best place in town to purchase local textiles, as well as items such as utensils, handicrafts and food; it’s all sold here daily.
Next check out That Dam Stupa, aka Black Stupa, which is located near the market, and then take a walk through area streets to the banks of the Mekong River for a stroll along the waterfront. After soaking up all the sights, scents and sounds of Vientiane, your day tour ends with hotel drop-off in the evening.