The center of Vientiane has a good vibe and has a small town feel to it. There are plenty of little coffee shops and restaurants for tourists. In addition, here are some popular places to visit:
Mekong River Park and Walk Way (Map Location: 17.960936, 102.608801 ) - A nice park and walkway near the river. In the evening a large night market with food stalls and many souvenir shops is open. There is also a sunset view point at Map Location: 17.963488, 102.601492 .
Buddha Park (Map Location: 17.912278, 102.765176 ) - An iconic, must visit attraction outside of Vientiane. The Buddha Park is a tourist attraction and not an authentic religious sight but still fun to visit and very photogenic. It is 20 to 25 km from downtown Vientiane. To get there, take Bus 14 from near the Central Bus Station at Map Location: 17.962799, 102.615756 . The bus also stops at the border crossing to Thailand at the Friendship Bridge. The bus is slow but cheap and better than having to deal with the tuk-tuk drivers. The bus drivers know that foreigners are either getting off at the border or at the Buddha Park.
Patuxay Park and Arch (Map Location: 17.970634, 102.618614 ) - A park with the huge Asian version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The arch has some nice decoration and a fountain in front of it. It is an easy walk from center of the city near the river.
Wat That Luang Temple area (Map Location: 17.97666, 102.636492 ) - A complex with multiple temples and a big golden stupa. The area is nice with all the typical sites including a lot of souvenir stalls. It is a little outside of the city center. A tuk-tuk ride will cost about 20000 kip each way. There is also a bus stop to return to the city center at Map Location: 17.974584, 102.634142 .
Wat Sisaket Temple (Map Location: 17.963123, 102.611215 ) - A little temple in the center of Vientiane. Not very impressive but may be worth a visit.