Vientiane (actually called Vien Chan) is the "new" (since 1975) capital city of Laos and located along the Mekong River bordering Nong Khai (Thailand).
What is the local currency in Laos?
The official currency is the Kip. There are banks, exchange offices and ATM's. Thai baht, US$ and Euro's can easily be changed or at some places you can even pay with it (for a very bad exchange-rate of course). Along the road to the Lao version of the Arc the Triumph are about 5 exchange banks.
How to get to/from Vientiane?
Air : The airport is both International (Bangkok, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, KL, Seoul) as Domestic (Luang Prabang, Pakse). See Vientiane Airport
Bus : There are buses to/from all bigger places in Laos. There are 3 different bus stations, one for Southern bound buses, one for Northern bound buses and one for the local area.
Road : All major roads in Laos are reasonable good and you could travel to Luang Prabang in 1 day.
Train : Theoretical there is a train going from Bangkok to Vientiane, but the end-station is far out of the city (actually just at the border). It would probably be easier to take the train to Nong Khai and cross the border yourself.
How to get around?
Vientiane city is small and there is not much traffic, so walking or a bicycle are good options. For short distances you can take a Tuk-Tuk or Jumbo. There are taxi's at the Friendship bridge to/from Thailand and at the airport. To explorer Laos yourself you could rent a car or motorbike.
Where to stay?
I prefer to stay near the riverside, as it is my favorite area in any city with a river.
Where to eat?
There is a wide choice of restaurants with Lao and Western food. And of course the French kitchen is very well represented in Laos.
What to do?
* Take a walk along the riverside in the evening.
* Visit "Wat Si Saket"
* Visit the Lao version of "L'Arc the Triomphe".
* See the "That Dum" and just walk around in the little street of Vientiane.
* Make a bicycle ride
* Visit COPE center
* Eat Lao food
What to do nearby?
* Visit "Xieng Kuan Budha Park" (24 km out of the city)
Is there more information?