Published: May 13th 2012May 13th 2012
1545, Vientienne was once known as the administrative city, The Kingdom of Lan Xang (millions of elephants). Believe to be 1000AD. The Siamese colonised and ransacked them in 1828 and the french helped Laos to regain their capital after that. Todate, the population in the city is about 210,000. Population of Laos is 6.5 million. Language spoken: Lao, Thai and French(majority)
Some said Vientienne is a sleepy city, some said Laos is a communist country. I said it is a peaceful country. Vientienne is a dragon awaken from his dream. No highrise, rambling collections of villages, modern houses and walk-up apartments, people tend to their own daily activities, no traffic congestions. Vientienne is moving on its own pace. Slow and Steady. They do not have to rush for modernisation. I think this is good.
It was drizzling on our arrival that late afternoon. 4km to the city from the Wattay Airport wasnt a traffic issue. We stayed a NO STAR hotel, more for the backpackers, but it was accessible to everywhere we want to go. Food was easy to find. Internet facilities available every corner of the streets. 20 minutes walk to the famous Mekong River.
Pha That Luang 1
the golden temple, the national symbol of Laos
two dinners, aha YES we did. Wanton Noodle was our first stop. It was yummy yummy. We walked to the Mekong, heavy rain caught on us, we had to stop in one canopy food stall on the five foot path. We couldnt resist the grilled river fish, some deep fried meatballs with glutinous rice rolled in one, claypot fish soup and we had Lao Beer, the National Beer? Heads nod...thats what we need on our order. Top on the list.
There are few places of interest in Vientienne.
Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan), an outdoor collections of huge concrete Buddha, Hindu and Animalistic statues. Built in 1958. There is one statue that caught my eyes is the one that looked so alive. I sometime wondered if he is still breathing. Look at it yourself. It still haunts me till today.
Pha That Luang, the golden temple (named by me) is a national symbol of Laos, a religious monument, a 3 layered gilded stupa. Inside there are many Buddhas statues, the main shrine in the middle and the locals sat before the Buddha , making his/her offerings, requesting everything nice for the family. Such a beautiful sight.
a seven storey Arc de Triomphe, known as the Gate of Victory. Formerly it was named by the french, Monument Aux Morts, a war monument. This monument is dedicated to the fallen heroes who fought for independance from France. Built between 1957 and 1968. It was a breezy day, wind came from four entrance. I guessed it must be the traffic around us....breezy with carbon monoxide. We had lunch there. We had fried kuey teow, spring rolls, durian, wet and deep fried spring rolls. Above us, my eyes stood still staring, amazed by the beautiful ceiling and the pillars that just draw you away from the food. It is so French!!!
Wat Ho Prakaeu is one of the oldest temple in Vientienne. It is also known as Hall of Emerald Buddha. Emerald Buddha statue was housed here for 250 years before King Rama I from Siam recaptured it back to Bangkok, Thailand. It housed many Buddha Statues, Arts and Artifacts. It is not a very big temple, but it gives me a feeling where time do not exist. The walls and doors have very intricate carvings and designs, it must take alot of time and patience to create a
masterpiece with creativity in mind. This show the devotions of ones duty and heart to The Buddha, The King and the community.
Wat Si Saket is just on the opposite of Ho Prakaeu. Built by King Anou in 1818. Wat Si Saket was built in Siamese design (instead of Lao design) with terrace, dragon head on four corners of the roofs that actually saved from the destruction of the Siamese armies when Vientianne was sacked by Siam, instead the Siamese armies used this place as their headquarters and lodging. The french restored this temple twice, 1924 and 1930. The cloister walls have housed more than 2000 ceramic and silver Buddha statues and artifacts. Don't miss this....it is exceptionally marvellous to have the chance to witness all these saved by the designer who cleverly chose Siamese style.
I may have missed a couple of places here, because we have not done much research on Vientianne and another reason is, we did not have much time, because of our next destination, Vang Vieng.
The places I mentioned above is good enough for a 3D2N stay.
I would like to go there again, to explore even further, maybe to
from the Mekong
the north and the south. That will be my future plan.
I hope these pictures will give enough information for your future plans.
There are more photos below