City on the Mekong

Vientiane, Laos

vientiane-waterfront

Vientiane, Laos
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  • Photo-of-Boys-on-a-bike-with-sunset-on-the-Mekong-in-Vientiane-Laos-Viang-Chan

    A couple of boys on a bike are silhouetted and reflected on the calm water of one of the small lagoons.
  • Photo-of-Sunset-on-the-Mekong-silhouette-in-Vientiane-Viang-Chan-Laos

    A newly constructed promenade and parkland brings out the locals in droves to enjy the balmy evening air along the Mekong.
  • Photo-of-Lao-Boys-Watching-the-World-Go-By-Viang-Chan

    Some Lao lads watching the world go by just after sunset.
  • Photo-of-Vientiane-Night-Market-Posters-for-Sale-Viang-Chan

    Some of the paintings and posters for sale at the night market in downtown Vientiane on the banks of the Mekong.
  • Photo-of-Riding-Bikes-on-the-banks-of-the-Mekong-River-in-Vientiane-Laos-Viang-Chan

    No scooters allowed here--just pedal power or walking.
  • Photo-of-Woman-selling-fabrics-at-the-night-market-in-Vientiane-Viang-Chan

    A woman minds her textile stall in the night market on the banks of the Mekong in downtown Vientiane.
  • Photo-of-Girl-playin-gin-the-water-at-sunset-on-the-Mekong-in-Vientiane-Laos-Viang-Chan

    Silhouette of a girl playing in the one of the small lagoons created by the build up sand islands.
  • Photo-of-Night-Market-in-Vientiane-Laos-Viang-Chan

    The night market.
  • Photo-of-Boys-swimming-in-the-Mekong-River-at-sunset-in-Vientiane-Laos-Viang-Chan

    A group of boys swim in one of the larger lagoons created by the extensive built up sand islands.
  • Photo-of-Decorative-Lights-for-Sale-at-the-Night-Market-in-Vientiane-Viang-Chan

    Decorative lights for sale at the night market.
  • Photo-of-Sunset-over-the-Mekong-River-Thailand-Viang-Chan

    The hazy sky makes for a deep golden sunset as the sun gets close to the horizon over Thailand just across the Mekong to the west.
  • Photo-of-Night-Market-Stall-Selling-Pictures-Viang-Chan

    Posters and drawings for sale at the night market.
  • Photo-of-Night-Market-in-Vientiane-Textiles-Viang-Chan

    Lao textiles for sale at the night market in Vientiane.
  • Photo-of-Beautiful-Sunset-on-the-Mekong-in-Vientiane-Laos-Viang-Chan

    The sun just before it disappears behind Thailand.
  • Photo-of-Colored-Lights-at-the-Night-Market-in-Vientiane-Laos-Viang-Chan

    Colored lanterns for sale at the night market.

Laos might be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some great water views. Winding through the entire length of the country is one of the world’s great rivers, the Mekong.  From the snows of the Himalayas, the river runs through six southeast Asian countries: Tibet, China, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

Down here, about halfway down the length of Laos, the river is wide. And it’s also relatively calm yet persistent–calm compared to further downriver near the Cambodian border, where the river becomes massive raging rapids during the rainy season. Unlike further north in Laos, where the landscape is mountainous and rugged, the topography around Vientiane is relatively flat, and the river banks here are sandy, not rocky.

The nation’s capital, Vientiane, sits on the bank of the river. And the opposite bank is Thailand; the middle of the river markets part of a long border between the two countries. There are no fences of walls or checkpoints here–just the endlessly surging water of the Mekong.

Vientiane’s waterfront seems purpose-built for glorious sunsets. A new park and promenade is heavily used by local families out enjoying the balmy evening air. Kids play and swim in the small, protected lagoons created by the wide sandy islands. And in the evening, vendors at a night market sell the usual wares to tourists.

It’s all makes for a relaxed, friendly, and scenic place to spend the early evening.

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