Located: about 70 kilometers north of the Vientiane Capital (Central Provinces)
Total area: 15,927 square kilometers
13 Districts: Phonhong, Thoulakhom, Keo-Oudom, Kasi, Vang Vieng, Meuang Feuang, Sanakharm, Meuang Mad, Hinherp, Viengkham, Xaysomboun, Hom & Meuane
Capital of the province: Viengkham
Vientiane Province is located in the central of Laos, far from Vientiane Capital around 85 kilometers. It has total area of 22.554 square kilometers 2/3 of the land is mountainous and 1/3 is land field. It shares border with another provinces such as : Luang Prabang to the north, Xieng Khouang to the north east, Bolikhamxay to the east, Vientiane Capital city to the south, Sayabouly to the west and Loei Province (Thailand) to the south west which 97 kilometers length. The provoince has a total population of 450.329 people, female 224.065 people, Vientiane Province consist of 13 districts: Thoulakhom District, Viengkham, Keo-oudom, Phonhong, Hinherb, Vang Vieng, Kasi, Meuang Mad, Meuang Feuang, Sanakham, Xaysomboun, Hom and Meuane District. The capital city of Vientiane Province is Phonhong District. The landscape in Vientiane Province varies from the flat, fertile alluvial plains of the Mekong River Valley to rugged limestone mountains in the northern and western part of the province. Vientiane Province is well-known for having the highest mountain peak in Laos 2,819m Phou Bia Outside of the main provincial towns the countryside is a beautiful, lush green mosaic of rice paddies, tropical fruit trees, and jungle vegetation dotted with quaint villages where traditional architecture and lifestyles can be seen.
Close to Vientiane Capital is the Ang Nam Ngum (Ngum Reservoir) a picturesque inland lake formed by one of the country’s major hydropower schemes – the Nam Ngum Dam. Boat trips on the reservoir are a popular day-trip from Vientiane Capital but for visitors with more time, an overnight stay at Ban Na Kheaun or Tha Heua is possible. On a southern corner of the reservoir is the large Dansavan Resort where you can gamble and play golf. Visit the Thoulakhom Zoo at Ban Keun to see a well-kept collection of local species. At Ban Bo in Thoulakhom District are large natural salt deposits that are processed and packaged into the common table condiment using traditional technologies.
The small town of Vang Vieng 150 km north of the capital is set in a dreamlike landscape of bizarre limestone mountain peaks and sheer cliffs with the Nam Song River bisecting the town. At the base of the town’s limestone mountains are a network of caves to explore. There are a variety of well-developed tourism services in Vang Vieng and a wide range of accommodations. Water sports such as kayaking and tubing are popular and rock climbing is also a growing pastime. For those who prefer less exhausting travel, Vang Vieng’s sights include several 16th and 17th century monasteries and the small Hmong villages of Nam Som and Nam Muang.
Just off of route 13 north are two of Vientiane Province’s better known attractions – a small man-made reservoir known as Nong Nok near Ban Sivilay that has great bird watching and the ancient Vang Xang Buddha images and sculptures that are carved into the side of a sandstone escarpment.
Because there are so many water bodies brimming with aquatic life various types of prepared and preserved fish have become legendary in Vientiane province. First is the heavily-salted, fermented fish known as “pa daek” that can be purchased along route 13 near Hin Heub. And then there is “koy paa” (sour and spicy minced fish salad), “kaeng paa” (fish soup) and “neung paa” (a delicious dish of steamed fish and fresh herbs) served at floating restaurants on the arteries of the Nam Ngum Reservoir near Thalad Village and Vang Vieng. At the organic farms in Vang Vieng you can also try mulberry shakes and purchase mulberry leaf tea, mulberry wine, jellies and jams.
With so many water bodies and pleasant warm weather Vientiane Province is a great place to get soaked during the Lao New Year or Pi Mai Lao celebrations in mid-April. In every village, district capital and especially the main tourist center of Vang Vieng, Pi Mai Lao is not worth missing.