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Vientiane was long known as a city that was firmly shut by midnight. Although it is still definitely a place that tends to close very early, there are now quite a number of venues where you can drink, dance, or talk until 1am, or even quite a lot later if the police are not in the throes of one of their periodic crackdowns. A lot of the restaurants and bars are indivisible. The Khop Chai Deu is most certainly all things to all men and all women. The Mex Alexia is another place that functions on both the bar and the restaurant level. Sticky Fingers is packed on weekends and is a hybrid bar/restaurant/cocktail lounge fulfilling all functions with a superbly stylish aplomb. In addition there are a few new chic cocktail lounges doing good business. It's also something of an open secret that if you want to be drinking and dancing into the wee hours it is now very feasible, although you will certainly have to know your venues. Also be aware that there is a fair aspect of sleaze among one or two of them with a slightly moth-eaten brigade of weary-looking prostitutes patrolling sadly from one to another like a pack of lost and slightly resentful penguins. They are, however, vastly outnumbered by boisterous backpackers loudly trumpeting legends of wild adventures and the joys of Beer Lao while enjoying British Premier League soccer and comparing iPod playlists.

Lao Traditional Performance

There are daily dance performances at the Lao National Theatre (Nokeo Khoummane Rd. near the junction with Fa Ngum) in high season only. They are about an hour long and include traditional lowland dancing (Lao Loum) in addition to the dance of Laos's other ethnic groups. You can buy a ticket from 5:30pm onward at the theater itself or from a guesthouse or travel agency.

An even better option is the Phatoke Laoderm at the Senglao Hotel (Chou Anou; shows begin at 7:30pm). They have nightly shows with classical and folk dancing accompanied by some fine traditional Lao dishes.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.