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The capital city of Laos, Vientiane, is located on a plain northeast of the Mekong River. It is the country’s major economic center due to its central river port location and its nearby hinterland of intensive rice cultivation. Although a capital city, Vientiane is known for its relaxed vibe and laidback atmosphere and is popular for its centuries-old Buddhist temples, colonial buildings, and amazing museums.
As the capital of one of the fastest-growing countries in Asia, Vientiane is experiencing a surge in foreign investment. Since the city is becoming more and more popular among expats, investors, and tourists, the demand for housing is expected to continue to increase in the coming years. As a result, the city is now experiencing a building frenzy, especially in the economic zone, to accommodate the high demand for housing.
Learn more about the Vientiane house market through trends and average prices.
Although Vientiane is not the main tourist destination for most visitors to Laos, its popularity is growing and over 1.5 million visitors came to the city in 2019. The main attraction is Pha That Luang, which is the symbol of Laos and an icon of Buddhism. Standing at 44 meters, this magnificent temple is covered with real gold. Located in the heart of Vientiane, the Patuxay Monument is another popular attraction in the city. It looks very similar to the Arc de Triomph in France, but it is carved with figures of Buddha and mythological stories.
Those who want to try authentic Lao dishes can visit Vientiane Night Market, which is located along the Mekong Riverfront. The central districts of Vientiane are popular among both tourists and expats as they are filled with bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and museums.
The main types of houses in Vientiane are two-story or detached houses, one-story brick house (bungalows), townhouses, and shophouses.
Most foreigners in the city choose to live in three to five-bedroom two-story detached houses or bungalows that come with large gardens and offer lots of privacy and space. There are traditional detached houses and bungalows in the country, but contemporary modern houses, constructed using modern materials, are much more popular.
As in other parts of the world, townhouses are rows of uniform homes with two or three stories. Each unit is independently owned, but they share one or more walls with other units. Just like its name suggests, shophouses are buildings that consist of shops on the ground floor and residential accommodation on the first floor.
All house types come in different styles and designs, including traditional Lao-style houses, modern contemporary houses, and French-inspired houses.
For most foreigners, the cost of living in Laos is relatively affordable, but be aware that it is not dirt cheap. Since Laos has come a long way in terms of economic development, prices have increased. Items cost around the same as neighboring Thailand and more than in Vietnam or Cambodia. In general, around $1,000 a month is required to cover all basic needs and around $2,500 a month to live comfortably for a single person. The official currency used in Vientiane is Lao Kip (LAK). 1 USD is equivalent to around 9,238 LAK.
Theravada Buddhism is the main religion in Vientiane, which is why the culture, customs, and etiquette in the city are deeply rooted in Buddhism values. The official language is Laotian (Lao Language), and many people can speak French and English well. However, it is advisable to learn some common Laotian phrases before you travel to Vientiane.
Foreigners need either the 30-day business visa (NI-B2) or the longer-term visa for experts (C-B1), diplomatic staff (D-A1), and officials (S-A2) in order to stay in Vientiane for an extended period of time.