Vientiane, the scenic capital of Laos and its largest city, is located in the Mekong Valley a short distance away from the Thailand border. Colonised by the Burmese, Siamese, Vietnamese, and Khmer empires, it has kept a firm hold on its rich, cultural heritage over the years, with evidence of its previous management by foreign nations evident in its distinctive ... More>architecture. Its name is pronounced ‘Wieng Chan’, and it is one of three Southeast Asian nations with dramatically evident Indochinese style (the other two being Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh). Its must-see highlights are numerous: Pha That Luang, one of Laos’ most important national monuments, merits a visit for its historical significance but so does the Wat Si Saket, along Thanon Setthathirat, a former royal temple built in 1565. Besides that, Vientiane is also home to cultural sites like colourful street markets selling everything from fresh produce to exotic food (like snake meat at the Talaat That Luang market). What’s more, the famous Wat That Luang remains the focal point of worship for Buddhists in and out of the country, while the forest temple of Wat Sok Pa Luang is a unique stopover for its rustic herbal saunas, but do take note that you will be required to make a small donation if you partake in its sauna and massage treatments!