Located on a curve of the Mekong River, Vientiane Capital has a recorded history that stretches back to around 1,000 AD. The area was originally settled because of the fertility of the surrounding alluvial plains, and Vientiane became the capital city of Laos around the mid-16th century.

Vientiane still has some of its older wooden structures, despite its government offices, foreign embassies, and schools. Its modern industries include brewing, lumber processing, and the manufacture of brick, tile, textiles, cigarettes, matches, detergents, plastic bags, rubber sandals, and iron and steel. The Lao farmers of the surrounding area tend rice, corn (maize), and livestock in some of the best alluvial lowlands of Laos.

Vientiane is known for its laidback atmosphere and it’s true that life moves slowly here, attracting those who enjoy a peaceful, relaxed vibe. Exploring centuries-old Buddhist temples is one of the most popular things to do in the Lao capital. Quirky markets sit next to the Mekong River, while colonial buildings are often museums displaying thousands of artefacts dating back to prehistoric times.