Vientiane - Tourism

Tourism

Although still a small city, the capital experiences a major influx of tourists. The city contains many temples and Buddhist monuments with Pha That Luang, a Buddhist stupa, one of the most famous in Laos. It is the most important national cultural monument and very popular amongst foreign tourists. The original was built in 1566 by King Setthathirath, and was restored in 1953. The golden stupa is 45 meters tall and is believed to contain a relic of the Lord Buddha.

Another site that is also popular amongst tourists is Wat Si Muang. The temple was built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu shrine, the remains of which can be seen behind the ordination hall. It was built in 1563 and is believed to be guarded by the spirit of a local girl called “Si". Legend says 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 hole. In front of the temple stands a statue of King Sisavang Vong.

The memorial monument, Patuxai, began construction in 1957 and completed in 1968, is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city. While the arc de Triomphe in Paris inspired the architecture, the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including “Kinnari”, a mythical bird woman. Energetic visitors can climb to the top of the monument, which reveals an excellent panoramic view of the city.

Buddha Park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat and contains a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, scattered amongst gardens and trees. The park was built about 28 kilometers south of Vientiane at the edge of the Mekong River.

Vientiane is home to one of the three bowling alleys in Laos (the other two are in Luang Phrabang and Pakse). There are many upper-class hotels in Vientiane.

Other sites include:

  • Haw Phra Kaew, former temple, now museum and small shops
  • Lao National Museum
  • Talat Sao Morning Market
  • That Dam, large stupa
  • Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan, Buddhist monastery
  • Wat Si Saket, Buddhist wat
  • Wat Sok Pa Luang, Buddhist temple
  • Settha Palace Hotel, Since 1932
  • The Sanjiang market

Read more about this topic:  Vientiane

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