Digital nomads and alike are looking out for their next stop and having lived and worked in multiple countries myself. I thought I would share pros and cons of living and working remotely in Vientiane, Laos.

I am all about inner happiness, location independent and things that bring me smiles. Whether that’s cozy place to rest my head, warm locals or good food. It’s all the little things that makes the journey special and unforgettable if they offer bad WIFI! (we tend remember bad things over good things and all)

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

Beautiful Sunsets by the Mekong River, Vientiane Laos. what you can’t see here is 5 plates of food and chilled beer lao!

Now perhaps you didn’t know, Laos officially goes with the Lao PDR (People’s Democratic Republic) and unofficially it could mean “Please Don’t Rush”! Yeah life is pretty slow here in Vientiane the capital city of Laos. If you have been in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, you must have heard of Laos as well. It’s the next door neighbour many people skip so, if you haven’t heard of it, I won’t judge you. Hope this post will shed some light instead.

If you are considering Laos as your next digital nomad destination, here’s few must know words –
Sabaidi – Hello
La – Bye
Food- Ahan
Bopengyang – No Worries
Hong noa yu sai- Where is the toilet?

Without further ado, let’s begin with the Pros.

1. Local People

Local People are one of the reasons what makes each country either welcoming or wanting to leave as soon as you arrive. I found local people in Vientiane friendly if i were to initiate the conversation first other wise nothing. So, you do what you got to do – small talk. There were couple cafes i would go to do my work in daily basis and just after few days, i was treated like a friend than just a customer which meant i didn’t had to constantly order something to use my laptop and work there.

It felt comfortable and ultimately i ended up eating there more often. Some locals were too kind to offer invitation to exclusive family dinners, boat racing after party etcetera. Over all, lao people were nice and friendly once i got to know them.

As for my looks goes, i look as asian as one can get. So, in S.E.A. usually people automatically assume i am one of the locals which has its own list of pro and cons and deserves a different post on its own right. What i’m trying to say is i also met some locals who were racist and would ignore my existence because of my asian looks but I don’t care. I don’t even want to explore that thought so let me just end this with – Focus on who you want to be friends with and create great memories.

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

digital-nomads-vientiane-laosNever met a Sunset i didn’t like!

2.  Networking
Vientiane seems like a spread out city but you will find it is easier to meet and connect with expats and fellow digital nomads. Reason being is there is not many places to hang out and that works in your advantage if you are new in the area and want to network. You can guess few places people would go like Vientiane Social, Easy Bar etc and turn up!

Most decent places are all in or around the city and most likely you will end up seeing the same faces now and again. There are also meet up groups, foreign governments and NGO/INGO workers who would go to the same bars. So chances are high someone you know will know them (we live in 6 degree of separation and all).

I had been on the road constantly for couple of months before i landed in Vientiane. So, it was refreshing to live in a home and to know a group of people that turned into friends. It is fun to live in bigger cities but something special about them small towns.

3.  Apartments
That brings us to no 3. I used to be always on the move but its been a while i have grown to love slow travel which means living and working in one place for at least 3 months. I had my doubts about apartments in Vientiane but i found leaflets and brochures were posted in almost all the cafes. So, you would just call and go for inspection. If you like it, pay the bond and move in. If not continue going for inspections. No drama here. It also helped that most landlord understood and communicated in english.

Oh and some apartments come with over looking view of city and FREE maid service! I rarely made bed and cleaned the apartment until one day cleaners didn’t show up and i saw millions of ants running on the floor. I hadn’t spill anything sweet; turned out house had invisible cracks and to compensate there was FREE maid service. Not everything is what it seems but yes easier to find apartments with beautiful sunsets view for $300-400 p/m.

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos
digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

4. Food
It doesn’t need introduction. That’s life!
Vientiane offers variety of cuisines like any other capital cities. There are nice Pizza places, healthy smoothies, Lebanese, Japanese and what not. During my time in Vientiane, Senglao was the best place for digital nomads. Fast internet for work, great coffee, good food and is the same cafe i was talking about in No 1. I was there almost every other day so, one day i caught up with the owner as well. He used to own a cinema hall and when that didn’t work out, he moved the interior from cinema hall to his new cafe! That explains Senglao’s retro look with statue of Marilyn Monroe at the front!

I was also regular in Joma and Parisian cafe for work, coffee and sandwiches. I didn’t look deeper into co-working spaces as I was happy siping my coffee and working there!

But among all that, if you are in Vientiane you gotta try lao food. I miss that sticky rice, grilled fish, spicy chutney, yummy noodles and beer lao in a random tiny hut or over looking a Mekong river.

5.  Opportunities

I get occupied with work but sometimes i want to give back. Not just to make myself feel better but also to spread the goodness in the world. I believe “giving” makes us feel more fulfilled than “receiving”. There are opportunities like volunteering to teach English, giving a hand in NGO or helping a local community.

If you are interested in making money, there are lots of opportunities as well.  I’ve met expats now friends who are running successful businesses in Vientiane, Lao like restaurants, SEO and marketing consulting company, mobile apps etc.

digital-nomads-vientiane-laosCasually walking to cafe and had an interesting encounter with a local! 

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

 

Cons for Digital Nomads:

1. Slower phase of life
This is not necessarily a con but Vientiane has this slower phase of life that might frustrate digital nomad in you at some point. No one’s in a hurry or rushing, everyone’s pretty chill and that’s all good but if it takes more than two weeks for your landlord to fix wifi
(even after that wifi doesn’t work) and your local co-worker takes ages to finish simple tasks then it starts to become a problem very soon. Maybe ask around if others have experienced this as well. But if you are on a visa run or just want to chill, then nothing is lit than Vientiane sunsets overlooking Mekong river.

2. Internet

That brings us to the second con. My first month out of three months, I had a horrible experience with wifi in Vientiane. I’m a straight forward person and don’t like to sugar coat things. So, I will say how it is – the answer is painfully slow. For digital nomads it’s definitely a no. It shows connect but it doesn’t work then it works but takes longer to load than paint to dry. I was always working from different cafes which was kind of nice as you can read above but after closing hours i couldn’t work as WIFI at home was nowhere to be found.


digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos


3. Too far from nature

Unlike its neighbour countries Thailand or Vietnam, Laos is a land locked country. Capital city Vientiane doesn’t have any beach nor mountains. You shouldn’t expect to beach bum here and if you want some mountain view you will have to go Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang. Buses take 3 -6 hours respectively but flights are available as well.

4. Phone data
90% of the time my WIFI at home would be playing hide and seek. I couldn’t get much done with limited hours of wifi in the cafes. So, I wanted to put some data on my phone and found there were multiple options of sim card and bundles but little info regarding the data use. I paid $15 AUD for one and let’s just say that’s the only time i felt ripped off in Vientiane.

5. Transport
Vientiane is not public transport friendly. You might see some tuk tuk in front of touristic places but that’s about it. There are no public buses or taxis unless you know the private driver or have their contact details. Fortunately for me, I’d kept the name card of taxi driver who picked me up from airport. That was handy. 2 months later now, they have an app called Via via for cabs like Uber in Vientiane.

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos


Time to wrap!

Vientiane is shy but once you get to know the place and it’s people, it will open up to you and you will have fun immersing into something different. Personally i am a easy going and don’t like to complain about things too much but if online work is your priority you might want to reconsider your options. However, Vientiane has many other good things to offer that you might enjoy. Imagine stunning sunsets from your bedroom balcony, tasty food all around the town, friendly locals and fellow digital nomads all in one city.

Whatever you decide, happy travels x

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos
Read this for more about me and check out Instagram for more pictures!

Pros & Cons of living and working remotely in Vientiane, Laos

28 thoughts on “Pros & Cons of living and working remotely in Vientiane, Laos

  • July 27, 2017 at 1:46 am
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    everywhere has pro’s and con’s. But I love the way you describe them here. I wouldn’t mind this life style at all.

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  • July 27, 2017 at 10:00 am
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    I have never been but thinking about Vientiane. Looks like an amazing place to explore. Thanks for sharing!

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  • July 27, 2017 at 11:05 am
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    Amazing photos, I have a really hard time with the food in Laos, quite a few people I knew got food poisoning as well.

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  • July 27, 2017 at 8:35 pm
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    Wow, it sound like an amazing place. Indeed, some of the cons are bad (WiFi connection for example) but it seems like it’s worth it for a little while 🙂

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  • July 28, 2017 at 1:28 am
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    Thanks for the great info. If only the wifi were better, it really sounds like somewhere we’d like to work from…

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  • July 28, 2017 at 6:38 pm
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    Laos is such a pretty country. I need a fast internet connection for work so maybe I will just visit to tour around and relax.

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  • July 31, 2017 at 3:51 am
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    Aw I really enjoyed this post. I know I probably will never experience it but I love reading travel posts and yours was very inspiring. You have amazing photography on your blog X

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  • August 11, 2017 at 10:59 pm
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    I am also working from home! I totally agree with you that a bad internet connection can easily make me freak out haha

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  • August 12, 2017 at 3:22 am
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    This was such an interesting read 🙂 but that ‘No one’s in a hurry or rushing, everyone’s pretty chill and that’s all good’ part… I would so hate this! I am all for relaxed lifestyle but then it drives me mad 😀 anyway, AWESOME post!

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  • August 12, 2017 at 3:48 am
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    Even if it’s landlocked it does look like it has some pretty incredible places there. I am sure I would love to go there. Although I can understand phone data and wifi issues would make things annoying.

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  • August 12, 2017 at 6:31 am
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    Hi, thanks for sharing this. I’ve never tgoght of visiting here before, but your summary and photos may persuade me, oh and that you have shared the essential words that I need 😊.

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  • August 12, 2017 at 8:36 am
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    Great post. Regardless of the cons, your photos makes this place look perfect!

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  • August 12, 2017 at 8:55 am
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    I’ve recently started working remotely and am trying to decide where to travel next so this post is really helpful! Vientiane looks beautiful but the lack of speedy wifi would be a problem for me.

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  • August 12, 2017 at 10:08 am
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    What a lovely post to help Digital nomads. You mentioned the slow pace as a con , but I loved it , since my life in a metro is too fast and I wanna slow down sometimes.

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  • August 12, 2017 at 4:32 pm
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    Loved your beautiful pictures. Slow phase life has helped me to relax after too much work but having no internet is really a con. Thanks for this lovely post.

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  • August 13, 2017 at 12:20 am
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    I am also working from home from time to time and I totally agree with you that a bad internet connection can easily make me freak out !! Most travelers are just passing through Vientiane from Thailand into Laos. However, Vientiane seems to have some highlights that are definitely worth seeing 🙂

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  • August 13, 2017 at 12:48 am
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    Wouldn’t the slow speed of the internet connection be a larger cause for concern? Especially if you’re a digital nomad in terms of working remotely- wouldn’t it prevent you from doing a large bulk of your work?

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  • August 13, 2017 at 3:43 am
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    Really interesting read, thank you for the tips. Might give it a miss as the Mister would struggle with slow internet, maybe just a quick visit

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  • August 13, 2017 at 10:23 pm
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    There are always pros and con to everything, but it seem like it is till worth it.

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  • August 14, 2017 at 4:18 am
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    Laos looks absolutely stunning! And the food does sound delicious.

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  • August 14, 2017 at 5:47 am
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    I have heard about Laos but dodn’t know a lot about ot. Your post helped meunderstand it better! I loved your pros. 🙂

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  • August 15, 2017 at 2:03 pm
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    Omg beautiful photos!!! Every place has its cons unfortunately. Glad there are plenty of pros!!!

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  • August 15, 2017 at 7:34 pm
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    Such a good read. It’s nice that you include both the pros and cons so that people can also have their expectations. I know it is not so easy to start but as long as you have the passion you can go through it. Happy Travels!

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  • August 16, 2017 at 1:49 am
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    I’ve always wanted to become a digital nomad!! And this looks like an ideal location…making me want to travel there already. Great advice for when I go one day 🙂

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  • August 16, 2017 at 2:05 am
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    Forget the transportation and slow wifi… A SNAKE?! Oh HECK NO. That’s a huge con for me. Overall, love the place! Thanks for sharing!

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  • August 16, 2017 at 3:19 am
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    The pros definitely outweighs the cons! I mean it just looks like the place to be! I definitely want to visit one day, and maybe just never leave 🙂

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