The Mekong River winds and bends along the borders of the Laotian capital of Vientiane. Cafes, restaurants, and hotels overlook the banks of the river and offer comforting shade beneath the lush jungle canopy. The French influence of the colonial era continues to abound in the form of renovated villas and pavement cafes while locals remain in touch with their ancient culture that is embodied in the Buddhist temple spires that emerge from the trees. On the outskirts of town, rice paddies overtake the countryside and line the roadways between the cities.
Farmers wear conical hats to protect their face and neck from the sun as the landscape shimmers with emerald hues of the trees that rustle in the breeze along the riverfront. Your flight will land at Wattay International Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon arrival and escort you to a hotel that offers an aristocratic ambiance of modern luxury mixed with French colonial flare. Take a moment to settle into the comforts of your lavish accommodation before meeting your guide in the lobby. Relish your introduction to the capital by embracing the traditional culture symbolized in the oldest temple of Vientiane, Wat Sisaket. The structure was the only temple to survive the Siamese-Lao war and dates back to the 19th century.
The structures offer insight into Laotian-Buddhist architecture with thousands of miniature Buddha statues that decorate the colonnades and sanctuaries. The original statues located inside the niches were carved out of silver, but have since been replaced with clay figures. Murals inside the main prayer hall depict the fascinating tales of the Buddha’s past lives, and the cloister contains more than 6,800 Buddha images for an impressive array of serene faces and devout focus. In the evening, you can make your way to out into the city for a delightfully flavorful welcome to Laotian cuisine and find bright flavors, colorful ingredients, and a comfortable ambiance.