When you walk around Vientiane you really see how close Laos and Thailand are to each other. You could as well be in a Thai city in northeast Thailand. The language is almost the same, the official language is very close to the dialect spoken in northeast Thailand, but the official Thai dialect is understood everywhere.
Also, the building style is the same as you find all over Thailand, even though you also see a lot of buildings in French colonial style. The french influence is still visible in the streets, like street names and so.
A funny thing is, in the dry season when the water level of the Mekong river is low, people are growing vegetables in the dry river bed.
First time i visited Vientiane was in 2007, 8 years ago, and a lot has happened since. You can say capitalism is sneaking in and pressing the communism out, Laos is still a communist country. All over the city construction are going on, modern high rises are being built everywhere.
Especially the Mekong riverside on the south side of the city has developed, a lot of shop houses have been built and are only waiting for tenants, but it is general for
That the signs of wealth have come recently you can see by looking at the cars in the streets, you almost see no old cars, only the Tuk Tuk is old. But you see a lot of new high-end 4×4 like Range Rover, Lexus, Land Cruiser, etc.
It is funny to see faded hammer and sickle banners side by side digital billboards advertising for Rolls Royce dealership.