Vientiane feels like little more than a large town. With a population of about 740,000, there are no skyscrapers here, no malls or hustle and bustle…But there are outstandingly beautiful Buddhist temples, lively markets, museums, and a fine assortment of local and international cuisines.
There’s also a scattering of older French-colonial buildings still standing, a reminder of a time not so long ago when Laos was a French colony. For those looking for a truly rewarding and unique retirement, Vientiane and its surroundings have a lot to offer. Nestled in the nearby mountains, beautiful waterfalls, venerable temples, exotic wildlife, and remote hill-tribe villages await those who have come to Laos with the luxury of time to explore the less-traveled reaches of this area.
Although Vientiane has perked up a bit in the past few years, businesses still shut down around mid-day, when the city closes her eyes for a few hours. This is not to say that Laotians are lazy – they’re not. They are a practical people with a different set of priorities than their more “industrious” neighbors. Kindness is more important than competition; fun more important than finance; harmony more important than willfulness. Life moves with the rhythm of the day and the seasons rather than the rigid strictures of the business cycle.
To settle down in Vientiane for an extended stay will cost $1,065 per month in basic expenses for a retired couple. We assume you’ll stay in a serviced apartment or guest house and eat virtually all your meals out, except breakfast which is often included in the room rate.
We advise that foreigners refrain from buying real property in Vientiane, given the communist government and related lack of respect for private property. Because of potential problems in renewing a visa for longer term, we recommend serviced apartments or guest houses to start your stay.
|Rent||$550||Downtown Vientiane , within a k.m. of the fountain|
|Transportation||$100||Local buses or taxis around town|
|Electricity||Included in room rate|
|Telephone||$15||Cell phone, depending on use|
|Internet||Public internet cafes or included in room rate|
|Cable TV||Included in room rate|
|Household Help, fulltime||$0||Serviced room|
|Entertainment||$350||Includes meals away from home|
These days Vicki and I try to only do visa-free travel. That is, we only visit countries that allow us to enter without requiring we go through a cumbersome visa process. Some countries still require that we show up at their consulate somewhere. Once there we have to fill out a form, present a picture, and sometimes show plane tickets, hotel reservations, bank statements, a detailed itinerary, and so on. Then we have to wait a few days, leaving our...Read more