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Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos that lies on a plain just northeast of the Mekong River. Home to over 800,000 people, it is the most populous city in the country. Although the city is a capital, it has a relaxing atmosphere and small-town feel, which is very different from the hectic and bustling capitals in other Southeast Asian countries.
In recent years, the tourism industry in Vientiane is thriving. As a result, the city is experiencing a building boom and, slowly but surely, the city’s skyline is changing. Last year, the city welcomed more than 4.5 million visitors who came to experience the city’s laidback vibe, rich culture and history, and natural beauty.
Learn more about the Vientiane property market through trends and average prices.
Two of the most common property types in Vientiane are houses and apartments.
The types of houses in the country include bungalows, two-story or more, detached houses, townhouses, and shophouses. Two-story detached houses or bungalows with three to five-bedrooms with large gardens are the most popular types of houses for foreigners in the city as they offer more space and privacy.
Apartments in the country can be categorized into several types: standard apartment, high-end apartment, and serviced apartment. Standard apartments usually have basic amenities, such as parking spaces, while high-end apartments may offer more amenities, including 24-hour security systems, designated parking spaces, and sometimes, swimming pools and fitness centers. Serviced apartments are the most expensive and luxurious types. This type of apartment usually provides swimming pools, gyms, designated parking spaces, gardens, free Wi-Fi, fully furnished and decorated units with air conditioning, 24-hour security systems, housekeeping, and laundry.
Vientiane was once a French trading post, which is why visitors will find numerous French-inspired architecture dotted around the city, particularly in the city’s historical center. Besides the colonial architecture, the city has a lot more to offer. Those who want to learn more about Laotian history can visit the Lao National Museum, which exhibits the country’s earliest history through to the main era, with the Lao Revolution in the 1970s as the main exhibit focuses. Patuxai (Victory Gate) is one of the most popular attractions in the city. It is the local rendition of French’ Arc de Triomphe, but with elaborate Buddhist embellishment, four gates, and a little bit higher than the original.
Pha That Luang, the national symbol and most important religious monument of Laos, is also worth a visit. It is an impressive gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the heart of Vientiane. Inside the structure, the walls are covered in Buddhist, floral, and animal imagery.
The cost of living in Vientiane is relatively affordable. However, since the country has experienced significant economic development and an ever-improving standard of living, prices of items have increased. The cost of living is basically similar or slightly less than Thailand, but more expensive than Cambodia. A minimum of 1,000 USD a month is essential for a single person to cover all basic needs. Lao Kip (LAK) is the official currency in Laos and the exchange rate from 1 USD is about 9,103 LAK. However, the exchange rate can depend upon the establishment or vendor. Therefore, always make sure to pay attention when exchanging your money.
The predominant religion in the country is Theravada Buddhism and the official language is Laotian (Lao language). French and English is considered as the minority language in the country.
In order to live or stay in Laos for an extended period of time, foreigners need to obtain a visa. There are several visa types available, including the 30-day business Visa (NI-B2), longer-term visa for experts and their dependents (C-B1), officials (S-A2), and diplomatic staff (D-A1).