Vientiane, the capital of Laos, does not resemble a city, at least by Western standards. Like other world capitals, the place is expected to be a bustling metropolis, wherein major thoroughfares are choked with traffic and streets are lined with countless establishments. This is not the case for Vientiane: here one will see tree-lined boulevards and old French mansions. Vientiane is more provincial than metropolitan, more rural than urban. The charm of this town relies in the fact that it does not look like the typical city: it is quiet and sleepy, something that seemingly belongs with the countryside. It is small and compact, easy to explore by foot or bike. However, Vientiane may not stay this way for long. Major development projects are underway, and they are bound to transform the city.
Vientiane offers quite a number of attractions to its visitors. Buddha Park is a garden with Hindu and Buddhist sculptures that was built by the shaman priest Luang Pu in the 1950s. The Kaysone Phomvihane Memorial is a museum created for the former prime minister and president. There are also many temples found here, like the Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan.