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Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos. It is located on a plain just northeast of the Mekong River. With over 900,000 people living across its total area of 130 km², it is the most populous city in the country. Vientiane is known as one of the most laid-back and peaceful capital in Southeast Asia.
Thanks to its relaxing vibe, strategic location, affordable living costs, and its position as Laos’ administrative and economic center, Vientiane has become a popular destination for expats, investors, and tourists alike. In fact, the tourism industry in the city is flourishing and it welcomed over 10 million people in 2019, which has led to a building boom in the city. Its skyline is slowly changing as more and more new apartment complexes are developed to meet the high demand for rental accommodation.
The most popular attraction in Vientiane is Pha That Luang, which is the most important monument in Laos and is known as an icon of Buddhism in Laos. With a history that dates back to 300 CE, this golden-covered Buddhist stupa is believed to house the breastbone of Buddha. Besides Pha That Luang, Patuxai is also well worth a visit. This interesting structure is reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but with Laotian characteristics. Other significant attractions in the city include Vientiane Riverfront, Buddha Park, Wat Si Saket, COPE Visitor Center, Lao National Museum, and Haw Phra Kaew.
Apartments in Vientiane can be categorized into three main types: standard, high-end, and serviced apartments.
Standard apartments are the least expensive apartment type. They usually provide basic amenities only, such as parking spaces. High-end apartments are generally more modern and offer more amenities and facilities for renters, such as 24-hour security systems and parking spaces. Some of the more expensive high-end apartments offer communal swimming pools and fitness centers as well. The most expensive and luxurious type is serviced apartments. They usually come with tasteful furnishings and a wide range of amenities, allowing renters to live a convenient and luxurious lifestyle, just like being in a hotel. These amenities may include gyms, swimming pools, housekeeping, and 24-hour security systems with security guards.
Both standard and high-end apartments come in various room sizes, ranging from studio rooms to one to three-bedroom. Serviced apartments, however, typically do not offer studio rooms. Most serviced apartments come with a fully equipped kitchen, separate dining and living areas, and even modern entertainment systems and a designated workspace.
Over the last 20 years, Laos has experienced dramatic economic development. This has improved the standard of living in the country but also increased prices significantly. However, living in Vientiane is still affordable for most foreigners. Many people can live comfortably with around $1,500 - $2,000 a month. The official currency used in Viantiene is Lao Kip (LAK). 1 USD is equivalent to approximately 9,250 LAK. Make sure to always carry some cash while traveling or staying in the city since credit and debit cards are rarely accepted.
The largest religion in Vientiane is Theravada Buddhism. This is why the culture, customs, and etiquette in the city are deeply influenced by Buddhist values. The official and most commonly spoken language is Laotian. Many people can speak French and English to some extent.
For foreigners who want to live or stay in Vientiane for a long period of time, a number of visa types are available, including the long-term visa for experts and their children (C-B1) and 30-days business visa (NI-B2).