It may not be impressive to know that you'd probably spend around $3 for a decent meal in Ventianne, but beyond prices, I thought Ventianne has a decent structure and attraction to deserve a stop for a night or two.
I have one full day in Vientianne to go around, and i thought a bicycle (Rental is 15,000 LAK) is good enough.
Government buildings and Parks are a sight, and biking around is cool since there's not as heavy traffic as that in Saigon, Manila, Bangkok or Jakarta.
(You can also go around on the public buses that ply a city loop for 3,000 to 5,000 LAK a ride) though if you add up the no of stops you'll have to do, it may be better to just bike it.
As you pass by where locals flock, you can get cheaper meals for 12-15K kip and noodles for only 8,000.
On the mekong river, you'll have a lineup of bars and restaurants, though most, as anywhere else in the city, would probably be closed after 11. Other stores and service providers close as early as 4:30. Beer along the mekong is at 15,000 LAK on the bars.
There are ATMs scattered around the city, withdrawal limit at 1,000,000 (20,000 access fee), except for ANZ bank which has 4,000,000 limit (40,000 access fee).
As for accomodation, while $5 may be cheap, I was trying to look for something lower but none that I found. I booked through Sihome Backpacker Garden for this price, but this is good enough as it was an airconditioned dorm, with real good breakfast (none like those who'd put breakfast for the sake of it, but would be nothing of value to your pleading stomach).