Vientiane Photos – Laos

Pha That Luang stupa, Vientiane, Laos

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.

Arc Patuxai, Vientiane, Laos

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.

That Luang, West Temple, ventiane, laos

That Luang, West Temple.

Then there’s another stupa charmingly named That Dam stupa, an improving National Museum, a bizarre Buddha Park, scenic river views, colourful friendly locals, professional and effective massages, places to swim and plenty of superb cafés around to keep a walker or biker lubricated.
The Morning Market is an easy walk from most hotels and hostels and a lively, colourful place to shop for local produce or souvenirs.

Wat Si Muang. This temple was built on the remains of a Khmer shrine in 1563.
Photo by O. Zvacek

Accommodation in Vientiane ranges from a small number of luxury hotels to a large number of cheap guest houses aimed at backpackers.
Transport around the city is easy and cheap with a selection of mini electric buses, tuk-tuks or taxis.
Internet is no problem in Vientiane or just about everywhere Laos. It’s also quite fast and inexpensive.