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Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, situated on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. It was the administrative capital of the country during the French colonization. Due to the city’s fast economic growth in recent years, it is now the economic center of the country.
Thanks to its laidback atmosphere, natural beauty, colonial buildings, and centuries-old Buddhist temples, Vientiane has been attracting a large number of international tourists. It is also popular among expats who want to enjoy a peaceful and relaxed vibe with a perfect tropical climate.
Find the latest rental rates on the Vientiane property market
Houses and apartments are two of the most common property types that foreigners rent.
Houses in Vientiane are divided into several types, including one-story brick houses (bungalows), two-story or more detached houses, townhouses, and shophouses. Three to five-bedroom bungalows and two-story detached houses with large gardens are particularly popular among foreigners because they offer a lot of space and privacy.
Townhouses are also frequented by foreigners. They share one or more common walls with other independently-owned units beside it. They are usually rows of uniform homes, with two stories or taller. Shophouses in the city are similar to shophouses found in other parts of Southeast Asia. Some of them have been renovated and made entirely into a house.
For apartments, renters can choose between standard apartments, high-end apartments, and serviced apartments. Standard apartments are usually the least expensive and they offer basic apartments such as parking spaces. High-end apartments offer more amenities, such as parking spaces, 24-hour security, and even gyms and swimming pools. Serviced apartments are the most luxurious type. They provide upscale amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, gardens, children’s playground, designated parking spaces, and 24-hour security systems. Renters are also provided with housekeeping and laundry.
Vientiane is known as the home of the most significant and sacred monument in Laos, Pha That Luang. While its foundation dates back to the 3rd century, the current structure was built in 1566. This 44 meters structure is covered in real gold, making it a truly impressive view.
Another popular attraction in the city is the Patuxai (Victory Gate), which is the Laotian version of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. It has 5 ornate towers built in traditional Laotian style and features Buddhist symbols and Hindu deities. Visitors can climb a spiral stairway to the observation deck to get stunning views of the city.
The living costs in Vientiane are relatively affordable and reasonable, but not by any means cheap because the city has been experiencing rapid economic growth for the last 2 decades. As a result, the living standard is improving, but prices and rents are also increasing. Lao Kip (LAK) is the official currency and 1 USD is approximately 9,103 LAK. Since many vendors use their own exchange rate when exchanging foreign currency instead of the real exchange rate, it is important to pay close attention when exchanging money.
The largest religion in Vientiane is Theravada Buddhism, which is why the culture in the city is heavily influenced by this religion. Laotian is the official and most widely spoken language. French is commonly used in government and commerce, while English is spoken by more people in recent years.
Foreigners need to apply for a visa to stay in Vientiane long-term. Many different visa types are available, but the most common is a 30-day business visa (NI-B2) and longer-term visas for experts and their dependents (C-B1).