3 Things for Your Attention in Vientiane

December 12, 2009 · 3 comments

I previously mentioned Vientiane in my 3 travel secrets post, but have yet to give this fascinating city it’s own space. It is the capital and biggest city of Laos. It is also easy to get to from Thailand, just a train and bus from Bangkok will get you there (or back).

Design based on the Arc de Triomphe in France

Design based on the Arc de Triomphe in France

Patuxay

Top pillars of the Patuxai

Top pillars of the Patuxay

Patuxay is a monument built in 1962 to represent those who fought against the French in the war of independence (the full name is ‘Victory gate of Vientiane’. It is an all concrete construction and to be frank, a bit ugly. The reason being was it was never completed so it maintains the concrete exterior.

It is even described by a plaque on the side wall ‘From a closer distance it appears even less impressive, like a monster of concrete’.

There is a small fee to take a look up the top, and it’s worth it for the view, in fact, the only bit of colour on the patuxay is the poles at the top (and a little on the arc roof), which are made from gems and gold paint, it would be great to see this completed or at least decorated as Laotians are good at colouring in!

Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang (translates to Great Stupa in English) is the national symbol of Laos. Built approximately 700 years ago and always maintained carefully (with new building beside it coming soon) it’s certainly worth taking some sunglasses to see the gold coloured construction.

Pha Thay Luang

Pha That Luang

There isn’t much inside the stupa walls, except the stupa itself (of which the base is 223 x 226 feet), some concrete dragons, a caretaker taking a nap, and some Buddha statues. My advice is to walk around the far edge, as the shade takes on the suns heats, as you’ll still get tanned from the stupas golden mirror like appearance.

It's a hard life in Laos

It's a hard life in Laos

Wat Si Saket

Built in 1818 Wat Si Saket is the Grandfather of temples in Vientiane. It’s outside gardens feature a number of bright attractions which is only complimented by monks walking around in their saffron robes.

Gardens of Wat Si Saket

Gardens of Wat Si Saket

Gold statue in the temples outside garden

Gold statue in the temples outside garden

Inside things start to look a bit more dated. Old statues and carvings decorate the temple, which is now more museum than temple. There is over 300 sitting buddha statues inside wall coving.

Wat Si Saket

Wat Si Saket

Sitting Buddhas line the temple exterior wall

Sitting Buddhas line the temple exterior wall

One final note I’d like to end on is please check out this post on the COPE organisation: http://www.adventurerob.com/2009/06/cope-laos/ They are also based in Vientiane and are working on clearing the country of unexploded ordinance, if you appreciate Laos then it’s well worth a visit to support this under-rated cause.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Blakesjourney December 13, 2009 at 3:44 AM

I really want to go to Laos. We got stuck on a Thai beach when we were in SE Asia. We can’t wait to go back. I admire your stick-to-it-ness when it comes to seeing the sights. They usually bore me a bit then I start squirming like a 13 year old kid.
“I’m hungry!!”
Keep it real in Laos.
blakesjourney / tBD

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Amiee December 15, 2009 at 4:38 AM

Awesome photos – looks gorgeous!
.-= Amiee´s last blog – What’s next? Plans, Plans and More Plans =-.

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AdventureRob December 16, 2009 at 9:01 AM

@Blake – I know the feeling, sometimes it is worth pushing on to see sights.

Thanks very much Amiee :-D
.-= AdventureRob´s last blog – Mid-Week Photo: Rama viii Bridge in Bangkok =-.

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