Laos was once the hidden gem of South East Asia but is quickly gaining traction as one of the best destinations for nature travel in the world. Vientiane, often overlooked by backpackers hurrying to other Laotian gems, has its own captivating sights and sounds and should definitely be added to your Laos itinerary.

Vientiane is on the left bank of the Mekong River at the border with Thailand, which makes it a melting pot of influences and cultures. There’s a lot to see, eat, and explore in this city. Vientiane has a fascinating and sometimes tragic history and a rich culture that deserves your attention.

While the lack of usual word of mouth may make it more difficult to find a place to stay, this guide will serve as your secret weapon! Whether your looking for social hostels or luxurious river-side hotels, Vientiane has a load of accommodation options suitable for every budget and travel style.

So let’s get into it, here are my recommendations for where to stay in Vientiane.

Pha That Luang Vientiane
It’s real gold!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Where is the Best Place to Stay in Vientiane?

Vientiane is stacked with awesome budget backpacker hostels, family guesthouses, and swanky accommodations. These are my most recommended places to stay in Vientiane!

SYRI Boutique Guesthouse Restaurant & Cafe | Best Budget Hotel in Vientiane

SYRI Boutique Guesthouse Restaurant & Cafe, Vientiane Laos

This boutique hotel is perfectly positioned within walking distance of the river and main sections of Vientiane, but far enough away from the main streets to ensure a decent night’s kip. It boasts wonderful rooms that are comfortable and equipped with all the necessary amenities. The pool table was a massive bonus as I’m a sucker for shooting a couple of games.

Barn Laos Hostel | Best Hotel in Vientiane

Barn Laos Hostel, Vientiane Laos

The Barn is the perfect place for your Vientiane pit stop as it has a decent social space that’s great for unwinding. Soft jazz music plays in the background, and you have easy access to the kitchen. The common space is ideal for relaxing or for working. Its dormitories offer air conditioning, privacy curtains, and a duvet, which is unusual in Asia but essential for a good night’s sleep for me!

Settha Palace Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Vientiane

Settha Palace Hotel, Vientiane Laos

Settha Palace is a world-class French colony-style hotel in Vientiane’s most central district. This historical building boasts an excellent location in a tropical garden with a lovely swimming pool. The rooms are comfortable, spotless and calm and you can expect an excellent breakfast buffet.

Wonderful Condo 3 | Best Airbnb in Vientiane

Wonderful Condo 3, Vientiane Laos

If you want a whole apartment to yourself, you can get one that overlooks the Mekong. This apartment, located in the best neighbourhood in Vientiane for easy access to everything, has a private bathroom, a balcony, and is within walking distance of the main streets and night markets. And if you enjoy viewing the sunset, there’s no better place to be than from this flat.

Vientiane Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Vientiane

FIRST TIME IN VIENTIANE
Ban Haysoke Vientiane
FIRST TIME IN VIENTIANE

Ban Haysoke

When you’re deciding where to stay in Vientiane for your first time, you can’t go past the city center. And this is exactly where Ban Haysoke is located.

ON A BUDGET
Ban Anou Vientiane
ON A BUDGET

Ban Anou

Ban Anou is incredibly popular amongst travelers backpacking Laos on a budget due to its lower prices, cheaper accommodation, and nightmarket pumped with glorious street food.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Watchan Vientiane
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Watchan

Watchan is a central area that’s based around the riverfront and an old Buddhist temple, Wat Chan. This is one of the best places to stay in Vientiane if you want to be close to everything.

FOR FAMILIES
Ban Mixai Vientiane
FOR FAMILIES

Ban Mixai

If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Vientiane for kids, Ban Mixai is a good choice. It’s close to the riverfront and the center of town and surrounded by things to do, eat and see.

Look I get it – Vientiane may not look like the most exciting place on your Laos itinerary. I thought the same, using Vientiane as a stop-off between the north and the south of the country.

I was taking the dreaded sleeper bus from Vientiane to Pakse and it turned out to be the worst journey on my travels. Imagine bumpy roads, chickens roaming the isles and having to hitchhike the rest of the journey to Pakse because our bus broke down (but that’s a story for another day…)

When I arrived in Vientiane, I expected the chaos that hits you in the face like Bangkok and Hanoi does. I was very pleasantly surprised. More sleepy town than a bustling capital, Vientiane is the capital of Laos and the largest city by size and population. Despite that, it’s still a fairly small city by modern standards but its still offers an array of good quality places to stay.

the misty mekong river, laos
The beautiful and moody Mekong River
Photo: @taya.travels

The first neighbourhood I’ll touch on is Ban Haysoke. This neighbourhood is in the heart of the city and contains everything you could want to see or do for a short or long stay.

If you’d like to be even closer to the best places to eat in Vientiane, then you should try Ban Anou. This is where one of the famous Night Markets is and it’s also very close to the city’s centre for the ultimate convenience. It’s also very close to Ban Mixai, which is where you’ll find the most tourists as well as the most restaurants, cafes, and bars. So, if you don’t mind fighting the crowds at the best spots, this area is ideal.

The last area I mention is Watchan. It’s pretty much as close to the riverfront as you can get and is surrounded by great food and all the attractions in the city centre. This place is perfect if you want some pretty views of the Mekong from your room.

Vientiane’s Four Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

If you’re ready to book one of the best places in Vientiane to stay, then here’s where you should be looking.

1. Ban Haysoke – Where to Stay in Vientiane for Your First Time

When you’re deciding where to stay in Vientiane for the first time, you can’t go past the city centre. And Ban Haysoke is the pulsing heart of Vientiane. This is where all the tourists want to be and it’s also where you can shop, eat, and explore all day without getting bored or running out of things to do.

Ban Haysoke Vientiane

By day, Ban Haysoke is a bargain hunters’ paradise. Visit the famed Ban Haysoke Morning Market for everything from unique gifts to hot bowls of unknown-but-certainly-delicious street cuisine (think crunchy insects, spicy papaya salad and everything in between). Your haggling skills will come in handy!

In the evening, watch the neighbourhood transform. Grab a Beer Lao from a local vendor and watch the sunset turn the Mekong River gold. For a history fix, visit the stunning Wat Haysoke, an 18th-century temple that tells stories of a bygone age.

Ibis Vientiane Nam Phu | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Ban Haysoke

Ibis Vientiane Nam Phu, Vientiane Laos

This is a very nice hotel in the centre of the city’s must-see attractions. Kick it back in their clean and comfortable rooms that are equipped with coffee/tea facilities for when your morning requires a caffeine jumpstart. Explore all day, then refuel at the on-site restaurant or hit the streets for some delicious local eats.

Lao Poet Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Ban Haysoke

Lao Poet Hotel, Vientiane Laos

This Vientiane luxury hotel is a stunning boutique hotel with an excellent location. It features beautiful decor, delicious breakfast, a swimming pool and a rooftop bar – all providing for a cool vibe. Those with an eye for detail will appreciate the elegantly designed interiors of the room.

Petit Espace | Best Hostel in Ban Haysoke

Petit Espace, Vientiane Laos

Petit Espace is located in the middle of town, giving you a sense of the city’s laid-back vibe. Meet other adventurers in the cosy cafe or lively bar – common areas built for maximum mingling. Crash comfortably in dorms with air conditioning, ideal for beating the heat and fueling up for another day of exploring.

Things to See and Do in Ban Haysoke

gold ornate roof in patuxai vientiane
Now that’s what I call a roof.
Photo: @taya.travels
  1. Visit Wat Mixai temple.
  2. Watch a performance at Lao National Cultural Hall.
  3. Enjoy a private full-day tour to be shown the sights and sounds that this city has to offer.
Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

2. Ban Anou – Best Place to Stay in Vientiane on a Budget

Ban Anou in Vientiane is the place to go for thrifty travellers backpacking Laos on a budget looking for epic food and a vibrant atmosphere. This neighbourhood is teeming with activity, all thanks to the iconic Ban Anou Night Market.

Forget flimsy tarps and rickety stalls; here, permanent vendors stand shoulder to shoulder, each offering a treasure trove of culinary pleasures. Skewers brimming with unknown (but undeniably tasty) grilled foods entice you from every angle. It’s a visual feast as well as a challenge for the adventurous eater and was some of the best street food I tried during my trip.

Ban Anou Vientiane
Glorius Patuxai – Laos’ Arc de Triomphe.

But Ban Anou is more than just a street food haven. It’s also home to an assortment of affordable guesthouses and is where the majority of the city’s hostels are concentrated, making it ideal for resting your weary head after a day of exploring.

Its location is perfect for seeing the city’s main attractions within a day. If you don’t mind a stroll out of town, you should definitely visit Patuxai – Laos’ answer to the Arc de Triomphe, a standing symbol of the country’s independence. I really enjoyed taking the afternoon to stroll around the area as many other tourists seem to do before heading back to soak up the chilled-out vibes that the neighbourhood has to offer in the evening.

SYRI Boutique Guesthouse Restaurant & Cafe | Best Budget Hotel in Ban Anou

SYRI Boutique Guesthouse Restaurant & Cafe, Vientiane Laos

This boutique hotel is perfectly positioned within walking distance of the river and main sections of Vientiane, but far enough away from the main streets to ensure a decent night’s kip. It boasts wonderful rooms that are comfortable and equipped with all the necessary amenities. The pool table was a massive bonus as I’m a sucker for shooting a couple of games.

Barn Laos Hostel | Best Hotel in Ban Anou

Barn Laos Hostel, Vientiane Laos

The Barn is the perfect place for your Vientiane pit stop as it has a decent social space that’s great for unwinding. Soft jazz music plays in the background, and you have easy access to the kitchen. The common space is ideal for relaxing or for working. Its dormitories offer air conditioning, privacy curtains, and a duvet, which is unusual in Asia but essential for a good night’s sleep for me!

Settha Palace Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Ban Anou

Settha Palace Hotel, Vientiane Laos

Settha Palace is a world-class French colony-style hotel in Vientiane’s most central district. This historical building boasts an excellent location in a tropical garden with a lovely swimming pool. The rooms are comfortable, spotless and calm and you can expect an excellent breakfast buffet.

Things to See and Do in Ban Anou

two people smiling and posing with bottles of beer lao
We <3 Beer Lao
Photo: @taya.travels
  1. Chow down on some local eats at Ban Anou Night Market.
  2. Sample some of Vientiane’s best eats and explore hidden foodie haunts you’d never find on your own on this epic food tour.
  3. Watch a game of football at Chao Anouvong Stadium.
  4. Go a little way out of the area to see Patuxai, a 1960s war memorial that combines a European-style arch & traditional Laotian carving.

3. Watchan – Coolest Place to Stay in Vientiane

Watchan, Vientiane’s hidden gem, entices anyone backpacking South East Asia with its riverfront charm and relaxed atmosphere. This is one of the greatest spots to stay in Vientiane if you need to be close to everything. It is close to the outskirts of Chao Anouvong Park, so you can take in some lush greenery while in the city.

Watchan Vientiane
Weird and wonderful!

Begin your day with a touch of history at the magnificent Wat Chan. This old Buddhist monastery is more than just a gorgeous face; its elaborate carvings tell stories of a forgotten era. The Mekong River is only a short distance from Wat Chan. Hop on your bike and explore the gorgeous riverfront route. After that, stop by one of the cosy cafés along the streets, which serve up strong Lao coffee and killer iced lattes to keep you fueled for the remainder of the day.

In the evenings, go to a local restaurant for a taste of authentic Lao cuisine, or have a drink at a rooftop bar and take in the neighbourhood’s laid-back vibe with views of the Mekong River. For tourists seeking a less-traveled-path experience in Vientiane, Watchan offers a distinctive fusion of local culture, history, and friendly vibes.

Viryla Boutique Hotel | Best Budget Hotel in Watchan

Viryla Boutique Hotel, Vientiane Laos

Close to the Mekong River, this boutique hotel is perfect if you want a touch of luxury for your Laos trip on a backpacker budget. The beds are soft, the rooms are clean and the staff are kind and friendly. And with a swimming pool, this place is a steal for the price.

Salana Boutique Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Watchan

Salana Boutique Hotel, Vientiane Laos

The stylish Salana Boutique Hotel is located in the heart of Vientiane. To fuel your activities, they offer a delicious breakfast, immaculate rooms and even a fitness centre. Plus, their spa massages are killer, and the staff is there to make sure you have a blast!

Wonderful Condo 3 | Best Airbnb in Watchan

Wonderful Condo 3, Vientiane Laos

If you want a whole apartment to yourself, you can get one that overlooks the Mekong. This apartment, located in the best neighbourhood in Vientiane for easy access to everything, has a private bathroom, a balcony, and is within walking distance of the main streets and night markets. And if you enjoy viewing the sunset, there’s no better place to be than from this flat.

Things to See and Do in Watchan

boat on the mekong river in the evening, vientiane
Evenings on the Mekong River
Photo: @taya.travels
  1. Spend an afternoon with a picnic at the scenic Chao Anouvong Park.
  2. Visit Wat Ong Teu, a 16th-century Buddhist temple known for its bronze statues & vibrantly painted iconography.
  3. Head out of the city and visit Pha That Luang Vientiane, a historic 44-metre gold Buddhist stupa.
  4. Take a day to go sightseeing and people-watching on the riverfront.
  5. Grab a tour heading out of the city to the famous (and slightly creepy) Buddha Park.
The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

4. Ban Mixai – Best Neighborhood in Vientiane for Families to Stay In

This Vientiane neighbourhood is ideal for budget-conscious families seeking adventure. Avoid the pricey tourist traps and instead stay in comfortable guesthouses and hotels that line the streets.

The Mekong River is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, ideal for taking a ferry to secret coves or relaxing by the water with a Beer Lao (kids excluded, of course!) Plus, the neighbourhood is brimming with restaurants, cafes, and famous historical and cultural sites to keep the whole family entertained.

Ban Mixai Vientiane

If you have a free afternoon, I highly recommend taking an excursion outside of the city to the COPE Visitor Centre, an interactive information site that explores the aftermath of the Vietnam War in Laos. It discusses Laos’ long and complex history with UXOs, which was once the most bombed country in history.

It’s a sobering yet compelling experience that throws light on an important period in Laotian history, and I truly learned more about the country’s history here in one afternoon than at any other point during my trip. Don’t forget to make a donation at the end to support their efforts in producing prosthetic limbs for those affected by the impact of UXOs.

New Champa Boutique Hotel | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Ban Mixai

New Champa Boutique Hotel, Vientiane Laos

This boutique hotel in the heart of old Vientiane is relatively peaceful because it is nestled away in an alleyway. It features an outdoor pool, relaxing rooms with air conditioning, and complimentary wifi. It is situated in a good location near the night market and is next to plenty of bars and restaurants.

Chanthapanya Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Ban Mixai

Chanthapanya Hotel, Vientiane Laos

Chanthapanya Hotel has spacious rooms with free WiFi, a fitness centre, a sauna, and an outdoor pool. The colonial building is adorned with French décor and exudes a cool vibe. The rooms are clean and comfy, with all of the amenities that you could hope for during your stay.

Downtown Studio Near Mekong River | Best Airbnb in Ban Mixai

Downtown Studio Near Mekong River, Vientiane Laos

Enjoy one of the coolest places to stay in Vientiane in this apartment. It’s within walking distance of the Mekong River and the Night Market and you’ll get the entire space to yourself. Suitable for up to 2 guests, it’s clean and cosy and will suit travellers who are looking for a homier feel.

Things to See and Do in Ban Mixai

an ornate temple in vientiane
Gone temple-hoppin’
  1. Although slightly out of the centre, don’t miss out on visiting the COPE Visitor Centre to learn about the country’s sad history with UXOs.
  2. Visit Ho Phrakeo Museum, a former temple built in 1565 for the Emerald Buddha that is now in Bangkok.
  3. Visit Talat Sao Morning Market, a daily market for traditional Lao handicrafts.
  4. Spend the evening at the famous Vientiane Night Market for some local street food and unique souvenirs.
  5. Visit Nam Phou Fountain which is illuminated at night with colorful lights.
  6. Make the most of your time in Vientiane by booking a private customisable guided tour that can show you around the city on a personalised itinerary.
  7. Spend an afternoon temple-hopping to see all of the beautiful temples in the area.
Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Vientiane

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Vientiane and where to stay.

What To Pack For Vientiane

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

What is the best area to stay in Vientiane for nightlife?

Ban Haysoke is the best area for nightlife. Although not as wild as its other Asian capital counterparts, you can still find a lively mix of bars and restaurants with outdoor seating. I even managed to find a bar that was doing pints for 40 cents…That was cheap, even for me!

Is Vientiane safe to walk around at night?

Vientiane is usually regarded as a safe city for travellers. Petty theft can happen anywhere, but the risk is low. However, it is always advisable to remain alert of your surroundings and take measures, such as avoiding unlit streets at night.

Where are the best restaurants in Vientiane?

Amazing restaurants are scattered all across Vientiane – it really would be hard to pinpoint them to down to one neighbourhood! Vientiane Night Market in Ban Mixai is the most famous night market in the city, famed for its cheap street eats. The French colonial history of the country means that you’ll never be short of good French cafes for a quick croissant and cappuccino too.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Vientiane

Unfortunately, things can go wrong when you least expect it. This is why good travel insurance is essential before you head on your trip to Vientiane.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Vientiane

Though Vientiane may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of Laos, I assure you that this sleepy city holds many gems waiting to be discovered. The beauty that southern Laos has to offer appears to be missed by so many people; I truly wish it was more widely visited.

The free spirit, the traveller, and the backpacker with a hunger for discovery (and maybe a Beer Lao or two) will be taken care of in this vibrant capital. If you’re looking for budget eats and eclectic nights, you can’t go wrong with staying in the backpacker hub of Ban Anou. Barn Laos Hostel was one of my favourite hostels I stayed in in Laos. Privacy curtains + duvet + air conditioning = A tired backpacker out cold for eight hours.

If you want a touch of luxury then I would definitely recommend Settha Palace Hotel. The colonial-style building will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and the amenities they offer are outstanding for Laos standards.

If you’re ready for a break from the usual chaos of Asian capitals then Vientiane is definitely for you. From temple hopping to simply kicking it back and knocking back some beers for 10,000 kips (seriously google how much this is!!!) Vientiane is certainly a continuation of the chilled vibes that I love so much about Laos.

Get exploring adventurers, you won’t regret it.

a picture of a bill of insanely cheap beers at a bar in vientiane
$0.5 for a beer… prices so cheap it’ll bring tears to your eyes
Photo: @taya.travels
Looking for more info on travelling to Vientiane and Laos?

Made it this far?
You get 15% OFF to book a place to stay!
Offer valid exclusively for Broke Backpackers 😉