Digital nomads and alike are always looking out for their next stop and having lived and worked in six countries myself. I thought I would share pros and cons of living and working remotely in Vientiane, Laos. I will also be sharing similar pros and cons of living and working remotely in Hanoi, Gulin, Sydney, Banff, and Kathmandu. Subscribe here to receive an email when it is out- August 2018)

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

Getting around- I recommend discovering Vientiane on foot to let the vibe set in. Then there is some public transportation option. More about it below.

Hope you saw the images on Instagram. If not, you can see them here.

If you need to book your accommodations, check prices here, and here.

If you don’t have your flights yet, check out ways to book the cheapest fares here or here. but if planning and booking your trip is a hassle, let me help! Contact me now.

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 otherwise nothing. So, you do what you got to do – small talk. There were couple cafes I would go to do my work in the daily basis and just after few days, I was treated like a friend than just a customer which meant I didn’t have 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 an invitation to exclusive family dinners, boat racing after party etcetera. Overall, 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 have its own list of pro and cons and deserves a different post in its own right. What I’m trying to say is I 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 are not many places to hang out and that works to 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 degrees of separation and all). I had been on the road constantly for a couple of years 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 the small towns.

3.  Apartments

That brings us to no 3. Early on I was on the go-go-go travel, always on the move but it has 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 there. It also helped that most landlords understood and communicated in English.

Oh and some apartments come with overlooking view of the city and FREE maid service! I rarely made the 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 (USD).

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

4. Food

It doesn’t need an introduction. That’s life!
Vientiane offers a 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, and good food. 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 the 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 sipping 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 overlooking 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 such as 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 like restaurants, SEO and marketing consulting company, mobile apps etc.

digital-nomads-vientiane-laosCasually walking to a 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 straightforward person and don’t like to sugar coat things. So, I will say (write in this case 😋) how it is – the answer is painfully slow. For digital nomads, it’s definitely a no. It shows connected 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 were 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. Nature

Unlike its neighbour countries Thailand or Vietnam, Laos is a landlocked 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 for the sim card and bundles but little info regarding the data use. I paid $15 AUD for one and let’s just say it was a rip-off.

5. Public Transportation

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 the airport. That was handy but I read they have an app called Via via for cabs like Uber in Vientiane now.

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos

digital-nomads-vientiane-laos


Time to wrap!

Vientiane is shy but once you get to know the place and its people, it will open up to you and you will have fun immersing into something different. Personally, I am 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

What I used to take these photos:

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera

This has been my favourite Camera so far. I love how my pictures come out crisp and colourful. It also has a screen which is useful when v blogging. You can check out what I meant on my Instagram which is here.

Accessories For Canon GX7 Mark ||

Check it out here

GoPro HERO4 Silver

This is my good old Go pro that I take with me everywhere. I recommend it because it is small, lightweight and waterproof. I have had made many memories with this trusted item and looking forward to more.

Accessories For Go Pro Hero 4

Check it out here

SanDisk 64 GB Memory Cards

I have been using SanDisk since my first camera which was back in 2009. They build quality memory cards. I recommend getting at least two, just in case something happens to one of them.

All-in-One Memory Card Reader

Do you think it’s a hassle of plugging your camera into your computer? This memory card reader will fit cards of all sizes and make an easy transfer to your computer. The reader supports all popular SD memory card formats, including SD™/SDHC™/SDXC™ memory cards, UHS-I SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and microSDHC™/microSDXC™ memory cards. It is also compatible with the latest UDMA 7-enabled CompactFlash cards.

My friends, I hope this blog post gave you an idea about what it’s like to live in Vientiane, Laos. If you want to check the price for hotels, hostels there, you can look it up herehere and here.

Let me know in comments if you –

If you like this article, follow my Adventures on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest, but most importantly sign up to my E-mail list to keep up with updates and travel posts!

Hi! I am Anna, Nepali-Australian who, not too long ago, left my career in corporate Information Technology and Services to become a world traveller. Since then, I’ve travelled to over 37 countries, lived in 4 and have ticked some big adventures off my bucket list. I enjoy travel writing, travel photography, and a minimalist lifestyle. I have written for Ariana Huffington, Matador Network, TripZilla and collaborated with Hyatt Regency Hotel, National Geographic Australia, Uber, Red Cross, Lightroom, SilkAir-Singapore Airlines, Kerala Tourism Board, and some more. My goal is to show you how you can travel the world easily, safely, and adventurously on your own. I hope to inspire you to live a life you love.

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

39 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 🙂

    Reply
  • 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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  • September 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm
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    Thank you sooo much for this article, i’m moving to vientiane next week and will have to work remotely for my company based in Paris. I was wondering how life would be, and was a little bit stressed about the wifi ( as long as it works at leadt in cafes it will be ok) …i cant wait to discover this country….don’t hesitate to contact me if you comme back there 🙂 Margaux

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    • September 16, 2017 at 10:09 am
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      I’m glad it came to good use. Laos has so much to offer, Enjoy Margaux 🙂

      Reply
  • February 4, 2018 at 2:42 am
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    Nice photos! Internet there is not that bad! Depend where you are using in different places they subcribe different packages some (the speed of internet dependon cheap or expensive )

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  • May 18, 2018 at 9:46 am
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    Thanks for your website. Great photos and information.
    Do you or anyone you know happen to have any idea of a reputable moving company or freight forwarder as to how much it cost to relocate to Vientiane or Luang Prabang with a 20 foot shipping container? I am in the early stages of considering moving my household stuff to Laos.

    Reply
    • May 21, 2018 at 4:49 pm
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      Hi, James. Thanks for dropping by. I haven’t used any service like that but I would suggest googling “international moving companies/ships” or finding out from the airline companies with baggage rates. Something worth mentioning is you can buy pretty much all household you may need for everyday living, so, maybe smart move to save that sum moving container and just purchase things as you need in Laos itself. Feel free to let us know what you end up doing!

      Reply
  • June 1, 2018 at 9:20 pm
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    How different is it to pnohm Penh in Cambodia?
    I’m a teacher in Pnohm Penh would like to cross the border for a visit

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  • June 2, 2018 at 1:43 pm
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    I am waiting to hear back from a job opportunity in Vientiane. Hoping for the best, and I really enjoyed and appreciated reading your considerations here. The drawbacks of no mountains is a tough one for me, but no place has everything, and striving to travel outside will bring its own opportunities and adventures, I’m sure. If all goes well, I’ll head out in a few months!

    Reply
  • June 24, 2018 at 9:38 pm
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    Hi Ana
    I have lived in laos for about ten years, and you are spot on with most comments, however you are totally wrong about the public bus system. They have a fleet of brand new green air conditioned buses that cover the whole city and run regularly every day.

    Reply
    • June 24, 2018 at 10:21 pm
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      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for sharing. When you say brand new, any idea when they started those green ac bus or what it looks like?

      Reply
  • Pingback:Best Cafes in Vientiane Laos - Anna Sherchand

  • August 17, 2018 at 11:40 pm
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    Hey Taryn, glad you enjoyed the post. If you are living there by now, and have any tips that could be helpful for readers here; feel free to share. Happy Travels !

    Reply

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