Phou Khao Khouay means “Buffalo-Horned Mountain.” One of 20 National Protected Areas in Laos, this park is 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of the capital. The park has forests, waterfalls and several villages. Hire a driver, rent a car or motorbike or join an organized tour leaving from the city to enjoy the day at Phou Khao Khouay.
Not far outside the city is the weaving village of Ban Nong. Take a tuk tuk or hire a driver to take you through the dirt packed streets past traditional Lao style homes to see how traditional weaving is done on large looms.
Follow the locals and get out of town to enjoy the local waterfalls in Vientiane. Drink a Beerlao while sitting on a bamboo mat in a wooden hut or rent a tube and splash around in the water. Ice cream and snacks are available from vendors and paddle boats can be rented on parts of the river.
No trip to Vientiane is complete without checking out the sculptures in Buddha Park. Also called Xieng Kuan, this family-friendly park on the banks of the Mekong is 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from downtown Vientiane. Over 200 Buddhist statues are on display in the park, including a giant domed structure that visitors can climb inside to view the park from above.
Ban Mai is a small town/neighborhood on the outskirts of Vientiane past Wattay International Airport. If you’re planning a motorbike or cycling tour of Vientiane province, this is a good place to refuel. There are a few stores, restaurants and a temple. If you’re a golfer, Mekong Golf and Resort is nearby in Phou Panang National Bio-Diversity area.
Two floating restaurants take patrons out on the Nam Ngum River while they eat their meal. Karaoke (a favorite Lao pastime) is available for those who would like to croon on board. Take in the scenery as you dine on seafood and sip a Beerlao before driving the hour back to the hustle and bustle of Vientiane.