Vientiane is the capital of Laos. Situated at the banks of the Mekong River, Vientiane is steeped in legend and history. Pha That Luang, the national symbol of Laos is also situated in the capital. The streets are lined with beautiful trees, the French colonial buildings, bustling street markets, amazing Buddhist temples, and many more.
Even though, Laos is trying to recover from it’s sad and war torn history which was not very long ago… this amazing country has it’s uniqueness, special charm and beauty which will captivates your heart. It’s truly one of the few exotic destination left in the world! I am now going to share a few places I think you shouldn’t miss if you ever come to Vientiane, Laos.
1) Patuxai (Victory Gate)
Patuxai is the landmark and is a war monument in the centre of Vientiane. This was built in 1957 and completed in 1968, dedicated to those who fought for the independence from France. The design is Laotian but it sort of resembles the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. I would say you havent really visited Laos if you don’t have a photo with the famous Patuxai. 🙂
You can enter and climb up the Patuxai with just an entrance fee of 3,000Kip approx SGD0.50cents. There are entrances from the corners of the building. Unfortunately, there are only stairs, no lift available.
There were a few levels while climbing to the top, and at level 2 and level 3, there were some souvenirs shops or to get some rest before continuing to the top.
Once at the top, you will be able to get a 360 view of Vientiane! Most prominent landmarks from the view will be the dancing fountain and the Prime Minister office of Laos. Unlike most of the capital city, you will feel kinda chillax (Chill-relax) at the top of the Vientiane. 🙂
Of course it’s worth to stop at the the Prime Minister’s office and fountain for some photos! 🙂
This World Peace Gong captivated me! I understand that the World Peace Committee has agreed to present the World Peace Gong to Laos as a country of peace in 2008, recognising their security and political stability for a long period of time. Hurray for World Peace! 🙂
Oh and of course… my favourite, FLAGS!!! haha
2) Pha That Luang
Did I not say Pha That Luang is the national symbol of Laos? Yea, I only figured this out when I was at this gold covered gigantic Buddhist stupa in the centre of the city!
This was originally a hindu temple in the 3rd century and it was the Buddhist missionaries from Mauryan empire sent by the famous Indian emperor Ashoka and brought the holy relic of Lord Buddha to the stupa. It was only rebuilt in the 13th century after Khmer temple fell into ruin.
Such long history and beautiful structure is definitely worth visiting and spending your time to reflect, cultivate and seek for inner peace! 🙂
The operating hours is from 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm. Admission fee is 5,000Kip (less than a dollar). Nothing is expensive in this beautiful city, which was great! Do visit this amazing temple if Vientiane is ever on your bucket list! I guess so, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right? LOL
3) Wat That Luang Neua
Just beside the famous Pha That Luang lies the beautiful structure of Wat That Luang Neua. According to history, there were 4 Wats surrounding the Pha That Luang, but today only two remain. One at the south, Wat That Luang Tai and one at the north which is the Wat That Luang Neua.
This is the residence of the surpreme patriach, Pha Sangkhalat of Lao Buddhism! Well, I picked this beautiful Laotian architecture building to do my KJS! haha
4) Buddha Park
A typical Lao’s afternoon can be hot and dry! It’s always good to take a break and enjoy a ride of the local taxi and visit the spectacular Buddha Park of Laos!
Just outside the city is Buddha Park, a garden with a collection of over 200 cement sculptures of gods and monsters of Buddhist and Hindu myths. This is not a temple but a park! I personally find this place really interesting and but if there are few people in the park during the time of your visit it can be a little eerie due to some of the sculptures of monsters, yet there were lotsa Buddha sculptures striking a good balance between the evil and the good! 🙂
Indeed a unique place and must visit! Warning: bumpy ride to get to this park, but this is definitely worth it! 🙂 Operating hours: 8am to 4.30pm, entrance fee 5,000 Kip! 🙂
5) Wat Si Saket
Wat Si Saket is another Buddhist temple in Vientiane! You probably must be thinking, am I only seeing temple in Laos? Actually to be frank, just like Europe… you see Cathedral after Cathedral… so you are in Indo-China, so kinda seeing temple after temple! Same concept I believe… haha
Nevertheless, this temple has it’s uniqueness too! It was built in 1818 by Siamese style of Buddhist architecture! You should definitely visit this temple because it never suffered from any destructions hence it is as close to the original design with little or no reconstructions since it was built! 90% of the city temples were destroyed during Siamese war and the civil war!
Just like wine, the older it is… the more tasty it will be! Something worth for you to see in Vientiane!
Operating hours: 8am to 4pm, entrance fee 5,000 Kip! 🙂
6) Laos Houses
I don’t know why, but somehow I am very attracted to the Siamese or Khmer style of architecture and I would like to recommend you to take notice of their houses! 🙂
What about staying in this house?
haha… that is of course out of bound for public! It’s for the Lao’s president! haha
7) Mekong River & King Chao Anouvong Statue
We all know the history of the Mekong River is filled with sad stories! The river flows with lotsa blood shed and fighting in the sad history of Indo-China war (affected Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia)
Somehow, while the sad history reminded us to treasure what we have and never take peacefulness for granted. The Mekong River is once again lively again and giving a kinda of serenity and calm…
Over here, you are at the Thailand-Laos border and you may see Thailand just right in front of you! 🙂
Remember to take a photo with the King Chao Anouvong Statue! The last king of Lao Kingdom of Vientiane, who fought against the Siamese invasion and subsquently captured and forced to surrender to the Siamese rule! His persistent and courage is highly regarded by the Laotian till today! 🙂
I was definitely more courageous and stronger after taking a photo with a great king of Laos! 🙂
8) Oot Ni Gallery
In the middle of a roundabout, lies a Oot Ni Gallery! haha Kinda random and no informaton what this really is! haha
Perhaps there was some history or story behind this but… I absolutely have no idea! haha
9) Mekong River Shopping
Shopping time… haha I’m sorry, I can’t tell you how cheap the things were in Vientiane! You definitely need to bargian in every shop you go! Definitely a unique experience to shop here, it’s nothing like big malls… every little corner lies a little bargaining is how I would explain it! 🙂
Well, if you are tired, you can follow the locals and take some rest at some random spot! Kidding… I think he was heavily intoxicated!
10) Laotian Vegetarian Food Spree
Last but not least, I have to share something especially with foodie followers! haha Well, for vegetarian options… HEAPS of them at Vientiane! I would say the food was amazing! Thai mixed Vietnamese style… Prepare for the battle with the amazing spices that the Laotians would used! They never failed to surprise me for every meal I had! 🙂
Drinks are also very cheap with superb ambiance! 🙂
First time I ever seen a blue santa! haha Merry Xmas and pray for world peace! 🙂
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark