Vientiane is the capital of Laos and the name is thought to have two possible derivations: ‘the city of sandalwood’ or ‘the city of the moon’. Either way with just over half a million residents, it is the smallest capital city on South East Asia and possesses considerable charm. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, the city offers a mix of ancient gilded Buddhist temples, French colonial architecture and excellent strolling opportunities along it’s peaceful river front. An evening drink watching the sunset over the water is a must.