Laos is a relaxed country, times slows down here, you lay back and see what's coming down the Mekong river. One of the places I can relax the best are coffee shops. I usually take a book or my iPad with me and sit there for hours, enjoying the coffee, watching people and read a bit (and work sometimes as well). So this is my personal list of the best places to have coffee in Laos. Please note that Laos is a small coffee producer, but with excellent quality.
They have two shops, one at Setthathilat Road and one an 23 Singha Road. The latter offers more space, but not that much food. Coffee is good, staff speaks English and services you well. Internet isn't free, they offer PCs and Wifi for 8000-10000 KIP an hour.) If you want to sit on your own, go to 23 Singha. If you want to watch backpackers skyping with mom at home, go to Setthathilat Road. Try the bread with peanut butter!
This is a success story of Laos. Joma bakery has a shop in Luang Prapang, and two in Vientiane, giving you a bit of a Starbucks feeling. They serve organic Lao coffee, made as a Coffee Latte, Americano, Expresso and several Frappucinos. Joma is located opposite to Nam Phou Fountain and at Phonthan between Sengdara Fitness and the Water tower. staff is trained to perfection, always smiling. Wifi for free (although pretty slow). Joma Nam Phou is always busy with expats and tourists, while the other one is just opening on February 1st (and replaces the shop at the Waterpark). Try the Bagel Egger for breakfast.
One of the oldest bakeries in town, located right at Nam Phou Square. Many backpacker have their first coffee here after they arrived at the Thalat Sao bus station. The offer sandwiches, pastries. The egg sandwich for breakfast is recommended. Wifi available, and best place to sit is upstairs, either on the small balcony outside or inside with air condition. Serving good coffee latte for a even better price!
Since a restaurant close to cultural hall just renamed itself to Sabeydee, there is a bit of confusion now. I am talking about the coffee shop at the riverside, with orange painted walls. It is popular with tourists, but also locals. If you like avocado, this is you place, try the Avocado omelet. Friendly staff, reasonable prices. You can sit outside, but you have to deal with a lot of traffic passing by. There is another room a bit in the back, more comfortable. Wifi available, if you pay.
The roast coffee
Some people refer to this shop also as the Japanese Coffeeshop, cause the decoration reminds a bit of a Japanese house. Anyway, the interior is just beautifully done. They service home roasted drip (filtered) coffee, you can order milk on the side. No Wifi. Stuff doesn't really speak English, but understand your order. There is a fabric shop attached, but I think the prices are a bit too high. Nice small garden outside with seating. Located at Rue Manthatourat, around the corner of Sabaidee Coffee.
Actually this is the best bakery in town, but - my experience so far - like many other French places the coffee sucks. So if you are okay with a very basic filtered coffee, then take a seat, enjoy the outstanding breakfast. Try the fig bread! No wifi. Quite nice staff with good English skills. Outside sitting is nice when it's not too hot.
Benino Cafe at Phimpone Supermarket
As part of the most popular and well equipped supermarkets in town, especially for expats, the tiny Cafe is a hidden gem. Not only that it serves good Lao coffee (all kinds of variety's, it also has delicious sandwiches. Try the mozzarella-ham-pesto baguette! Staff is overwhelming friendly, Wifi available. Sit outside with expats and watch people passing by on the main road (Setthathilat). Located opposite Nam Phou Square.
When it comes to sitting in a nice atmosphere, nothing beats the terrace and garden of the Ansara Hotel. It is quiet, located next to a Wat, in a small alley. The luxury boutique hotel offers coffee, tea and some cakes. Not that much of a selection (for now), but if you want to get the luxury Indochina feeling, then come here. Wifi available for free.
The coffee shop is part of the Lotus silk hotel, and therefor not that big. But If you are around this part of town, pay a visit. It is a quiet place, not that many people so you can be on your own. Staff is very friendly (and sometimes funny). Good quality in coffee and some pastries. Located at Rue Francois Ngin.
Paty Xay Cafe
This shop as also two outlets, one at Setthathilat road, the other one not far from Patu Xay Monument. The latter is popular with NGO expats, although I never got the point why. Coffee is under average, and food as well. The one in downtown has a least a nice seating to watch people, and some delicious pastries. Wifi available, but not always working. Just mentioned here because some people really like it.
Just in... L'Oriental
New and beautiful decorated cafe and restaurant. North African style. Wifi available. Pastries, coffee and ... couscous! Try it! At Rue Khounboulom.