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Fitness activities in Vientiane

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-10-2011 in
Miss Laos contestans at Bee Bee Fitness Center
Thomas Wanhoff

The life of an expat has it’s advantages and disadvantages. One advantage, in particular in Laos, is good and cheap Beerlao. The disadvantage is that you gain weight easily. So how to get rid of these kilograms and pounds around your hips? Do sports. Vientiane actually offers a lot of activities, you just have to know where and when.

Let’s start with the usual suspects, aka gyms. There are two I can recommend. One is the well known Sengdara Fitness at Dongpalan Street. It offers all you need in a gym, from weightlifting and other machines to sauna and pool. It is considered to be the first western style gym. Then there is Bee Bee (, a new place in town, recently opened and quite successful from the start: they got the Miss Lao contestants for their exercise before the contest. It’s located on Thadeua Road opposite the Australian Embassy. You will find Yoga and Dance classes as well as Pilates sessions here.

You want to be on your own? No problem. If you like to burn fat on a bike, Vientiane offers you a flat surface, where you can - at least in the early morning - race around the empty streets. There are some informal gatherings of bikers; it is best to ask co-workers if they know someone or just wait in the morning at around 6 am downtown (Riverside road for example) for them passing by. You can also buy a Vientiane map in some supermarkets where cycling courses are mentioned

If you want to be on your own feet, do walking. Depending on your location you can just walk around your village (I do a 30 minute walk every morning) or you join the (mainly local) fitness community either at the newly built Chao Anouvong park at the riverside or at the That Luang parking space (in front of the National Assembly Hall). Both are also good for dog walks. Or, you could join the many Lao people doing some exercises around the Patu Xay monument at Lane Xang.

Vientiane also has it’s own group of Hash House Harriers, they start on Saturdays 4pm at Nam Phou Square. You are more an off-track person? Go to the Phou Khao Khouei National Protected Area and explore the wilderness and jungles of Laos - it’s a 90 km trip.

Kajaking and Zip-Line-Fun is located on te Nham Lik River, around 60 km outside town.

What else? Swimmers have some choices at Sengdara Fitness, Don Chan Palce Hotel and Vansana Hotel. The waterpark at Khouvien Road is not recommended (and usually closed). Badminton courts are located at Kilometer 5 heading north, while tennis courts are available at the Anouvong Stadium downtown. Your hole-in-one might become reality at the Golf Course located a bit out of town where the Sea Games took place - but it is the only reasonable one. Horse riding for kids is offered near the waterpark on Khouvieng raod.

For the French community, the Petanque stadium a good place, but you will easily find more spots when you ask your French friends. If you are more into football aka soccer, then you may have already seen a lot of football fields. Laotians are crazy for football, and nearly every company has their own team. Just ask around your Lao friends or co-workers, they may have fun inviting you to the next game. Usually there are no fixed teams, and you can buy cheap soccer shoes at the Thalat Sao Mall. Football is for pussys? Then join the rugby federation (, they have regular events.

The best time for sports is between 5am and 6am and after sunset (usually after 6pm), when it is cooling down at least a little bit. If you go biking, walking or jogging, make sure you have some lights and reflectors so people can see you in the dark. Around Dongpalan Street, you will find many shops specializing in sports equipment.


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