Vientiane is an ancient city whose territories cover both banks of the mekong river. Vieng (vien) in the lao language means “the city”. chantha (tiane), a pali word, means sandalwood or the moon. vientiane is the city of sandalwood and sandalwood is the symbol of vientiane. it is also known as the city of the moon, as the lao people believe their origin to be from that celestial body. in fact, even the design of the national flag has the image of the moon in its center.
Upon entering vientiane, you will be surprised at the relaxed atmosphere and small-town charm of this capital city. the city is characterized by an eclectic mix of colonial french buildings and ancient temples, along with colorful markets. Vientiane retains a laid-back lifestyle. for many visitors, vientiane remains something of a mystery, yet the country's largest city has plenty to offer in terms of cultural, religious, historical and entertainment activities.