Pha That Luang stupa, Vientiane, Laos.
Photo by Mickstout
Pictures Guide to Vientiane
Many people pass straight through Vientiane, the capital of Laos, without giving it much of a chance. This is a shame as it’s an extremely relaxed town with a real colonial feel, some lovely walks – especially along the Mekong river front – a fine selection of accommodation and masses of tasty but low cost restaurants and cafés.
The main attractions in Vientiane involve temples, with the Pha That Luang stupa and its surrounding temples not only the pick of the Vientiane bunch, but also the most important religious totem in the country.
The design of the 45m high Pha That Luang – the name in full translates as ‘World Precious Sacred Stupa’ – represents many aspects of Buddhist scriptures, though the primary artistic inspiration is the lotus flower. The stupa is 4km from Vientiane’s centre.
Vientiane, Arc Patuxai (inspired by Paris’ Arc du Triomphe).
Photo by O. Zvacek
The Patuxai monument is fairly new, completed in 1968, and fairly visible from most of Vientiane. Tourists can climb to the top of the structure for a fine panoramic view of the city.
Apart from these two sights there are several other shapely temples on offer, variously adorned with ornate roofs, carvings, paintings, gold, Buddha images and other more unusual sculptures.