Chilling out lakeside a cool surprise at capital’s new urban centre
Welcoming Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and images inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, Jewel of the Mekong.

In most large cities, many people usually look for getaways that can help them escape the pressures and stresses of daily life.
Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has a lot of interesting places to visit, including renowned spots such as Patuxay or the Victory Gate, That Luang Stupa and Hor Phra Keo (the emerald Buddha Hall).
These sites are well-known locally and internationally because they are mentioned in guidebooks and pop up in Google searches.
But sometimes one can find other places that are not as well-known yet, where people can chill out and spend some enjoyable moments with their friends, families and loved ones.

Parents have fun accompanying their children for a ride on a lake boat.

This writer had such an experience last weekend, when I found Nongchanh marsh while looking for a spot where I could spend some time relaxing. 
I spent a few hours watching “The Nun”, a new horror film that was quite thrilling.
I then decided to make the rest of my weekend as enjoyable as possible before returning to work the following day. 
Soon after the movie finished, I walked around the shopping centre to buy some clothes and had lunch at a food court. Initially, I had thought of returning home after shopping and having a meal that included a plate of rice with chicken legs and a fruit smoothie.
But then I decided to go down to the first floor and look around for a place to sit and relax. I went out the rear door of the shopping centre to see what was going on, as it seemed a group of youngsters was playing on the banks of Nongchanh Marsh.
After spending a couple of hours sitting under a tree, I realised this place is a great location for having a chat with friends, relaxing and enjoying food, or just having a good time with loved ones because it is quiet and surrounded by nature. 
Ideally located in the centre of Vientiane, strangers may think this spot is just a shopping area where high-profile customers can buy luxury products. 
In fact, there are a lot of small restaurants along Nongchan Marsh that provide a variety of choices in terms of food and drinks at affordable prices.
This site was developed by Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Co Ltd and Krittaphong Group Co Ltd with an investment of millions of dollars to create a new urban centre over an area of more than 53,000 square metres.
The project, for which development permission was given by the government, comprises a shopping centre, office buildings, apartments, conference facilities, a restaurant, and a pedestrian area.
Currently, the construction of a pedestrian path is underway. There are also rides in plastic boats for on-water family fun with the kids.
This new urban centre is slowly becoming a place for people from all walks of life to have a good time, chatting or engaging in other activities such as jogging or a family get-together.
If you’re looking for a place within the city for a relaxing break after a busy day at the workplace, Nongchanh Marsh may be the perfect spot for some drinks and a conversation with friends to get rid of the stress.
Once the construction of necessary facilities at the site is completed, this spot is sure to join the other well-recognised hotspots in Vientiane and will attract a large number of visitors.
So, why don’t you get a head start and come and join me and chill out Nongchan Marsh style.

By Bounfaeng Phaymanivong
(Latest Update September 21, 2018)

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