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Laos » Vientiane Municipality Attraction

Location:       On a curve of the Mekong River, which shares its border with Thailand
Total Area:    3,920 square meters
Population:     610,000
08 Districts:   Chanthabuly, Sikhottabong, Xaysetha, Sisattanak, Naxaithong, Xaythany, Hadsaifong, Sangthong and Muongparkngum
Capital:         Vientiane Municipality 

Capital Vientiane is the capital of Laos and shares its border with Thailand. King Saysethathirath constructed the city on the curve of the Mekong River in the 16th century

The old part of Vientiane is an attractive and interesting settlement along the Mekong River where ancient temples, museums, monuments and parks are all located just a short distance from one another

The cosmopolitan capital of Laos, Vientiane has galleries, boutiques, theatres, nightclubs and Internet cafes, making it a major attraction of visitors from all around the globe. Although small, the city offers visitors a great variety of restaurants serving both Lao and foreign cuisine

That Luang Stupa (Great Sacred Stupa)    

Originally built in 1566 by King Saysethathirath, That Luang Stupa was rebuilt in 1953. The golden stupa stands 45 meters tall and is believed to contain a relic of Lord Buddha. Today it is the nation’s most important cultural monument. Symbolizing the coming together of all Lao people it holds a special place in the national psyche

The gold colored centerpiece of this stupa echoes the curve of an elongated Lotus bud. The shrine is the focus for the annual That Luang Festival. The festival is celebrated for 7 daysand nights during the twelfth full moon of the Buddhist lunar calendar where monks are presented with flower offerings and residents enjoy traditional cultural performances

That Luang Stupa is open from 8:00H to 16:00H, except Mondays and public holidays

Ho Pra Keo Museum          

Previously the ancient temple, it was built in 1565 by King Saysethathirath to house the Emerald Buddha (lost to the Siamese in 1828) as his personal place of worship. For this reason and unlike other temples in Laos, monks have not taken up residence here. During the 1970’s the temple was converted from a place of worship into a museum and it now houses nation’s finest collection of Buddhist sculpture and artifacts        

From the terrace of HoPra Keo a view overlooking the President’ Palace (former Royal Palace) and gardens can be enjoyed. The museum is open daily 08:00H to 12:00H and 13:00H to 16:00H

Wat Sisaket Temple           

This temple is located in the center of the old city and was built in 1818 by King Anouvong and is Vientiane’s oldest remaining temple having survived the destination of the city by the Siamese in 1828   

The oldest monastery stands intact in its original from and certainly is one of the most interesting in the country. Inside the main hall, the courtyard walls house hundreds of little niches and shelves containing a total of 6,840 Buddha images. Ho Trai is a hall containing many Buddhist manuscripts, which were published in the 18th century. The temple is also renowned after featuring as the Lao national emblem at the 1970 Expo Osaka in Japan

The temple is open daily from 08:00H to 12:00H and 13:00H to 16:00H

Patuxay Monument

The memorial monument of Patuxay is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city. It was constructed in its prominent position on Lanexang Avenue in 1958. While the architecture was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including “Kinnari”, a mythical birdwoman  

Energetic visitors can climb to the top of the monument. Which reveals an excellent panoramic view of the city. The monument is open daily from 08:00H to 17:00H

Revolutionary Monument 

Located near That Luang Stupa, this simple star-tipped monument was built as a tribute to those who died in the revolutionary struggle between 1945 to 1975

Wat Simuang Temple

The original foundation pillar of Vientiane can be found in Wat Simuang, which is located in Ban Simuang village along the Sethathirath Road. It was built in 1956 and is thought to be guarded by the spirit a local girl called “Si”. Local legend has it that Nang Si, who was pregnant at the time, leapt to her death as a sacrifice, just as the pillar was being lowered into the hold. A very colorful Phasat Pheung (wax pavilion procession) takes place two days prior to the That Luang Festival in November, which attracts large crowds to Wat Simuang Temple

Wat Ongtue Temple           

Wat Ongtue or “the temple of the heavy Buddha”, houses a 16th Century Buddha image weighing an incredible ten tons. The temple was built by King Saysethathirath and is found on the street of the same name – Sethathirath Road

Wat Inpeng Temple           

Wat Inpeng Pagoda is a historical landmark of arts and culture, located on the north of Wat Ongtue Temple. There are many historical elements of interest to those studying Lao art and culture including the rock sculptures, Buddha image and rock columns depicting Mon and Khmer cultures

Despite many of the original items in this temple having since been removed. The pagoda still corresponds to the King of Gods. It was once said that during construction, He transformed himself into an old wise man to assist with construction. Legend also holds that He further transformed himself into an old white monk to help construct the Buddha image. From then on, the temple became known as Wat Inpeng, which means “to transform”    

Ta Lat Sao or Morning Market     

Located on Lanexang Avenue opposite the Post Office, the Morning Market consists of 3 main buildings each with 2 floors. This lively shopping market has become the commercial center of Vientiane. A huge variety of goods are sold among including Lao antiques, textiles, souvenirs, handicrafts, jewelry, and products imported from abroad. The market is open daily from 07:00H to 17:00H

Suan Wattanatham Bandapao or National Ethnic Cultural Park

The National Ethnic Cultural Park is located 20 kilometers south from Vientiane near the Friendship Bridge. Visitors can follow shady paths past model-sized traditional Lao Homes, sculpture of Lao literacy heroes and through a small zoo. Afterwards visitors can relax at the Mekong’s riverside, where the view of Khau Midthaphab (Friendship Bridge) can be enjoyed from several bars and restaurants     

The National Ethnic Cultural Park is open daily from 08:00H to 18:00H

Khau Midthaphab or Friendship Bridge  

The friendship Bridge was officially opened in April 1994 and it spans the Mekong River linking Lao P.D.R. (Vientiane) with neighboring Thailand (Nongkhai). As one of Lao’s International Border Checkpoints, tourists can be obtained for entry at the Bridge

It is open daily from 06:00H to 22:00H

Xieng Khouan Buddha Park          

The Xieng Khouan Buddha Park is a religious sculpture park, which was built in 1958. A collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures is scattered amongst gardens and trees. Built about 28 kilometers south of Vientiane backing onto the Mekong River, the town of Nongkhai in neighboring Thailand can be seen on the opposite side of the river

The park is open daily from 08:00H to 16:30H

Hinkhanna Waterfall         

This small but attractive waterfall is situated in Naxaithong District about 25 kilometers to the north of Vientiane

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