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Vientiane - City of Sandalwood and the Moon.

sunny

In March 2001 we went to Vientiane for the day from Nong Khai in Thailand. We only spent a few hours here so just got a taste of the city.

Vientiane is the largest city in Laos. It is situated on the banks of the Mekong River and is not far from the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the Laotian capital in 1573.

The banks of the Mekong River.

The banks of the Mekong River.

Workers in the fields.

Workers in the fields.

We started our day trip to Vientiane by visiting the Wat Si Muang. This temple was built in 1563, during the reign of King Setthathirat. The temple is called after a young woman, Si Muang, who supposedly threw herself into a hole in the ground where the building’s central pillar was about to be placed in order to appease angry spirits. In front of this temple there is a monument to King Sisavang Vong.

We also visited Wat Haw Pha Kaew, which is now a museum. This was once home to the famous Emerald Buddha, which was enshrined here for over 200 years until in 1779 it was taken to Bangkok. Haw Phra Kaew was built in 1565 by King Setthathirath, who moved the capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom to Vientiane.

Near to the Wat Haw Pha Made stands the Wat Si Saket. This is the only temple in Laos that survived the Siamese occupation of 1828. It houses more than ten thousand Buddha images.

King Setthathirat.

King Setthathirat.

King Setthathirat.

King Setthathirat.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Si Muang.

Wat Haw Pha Kaew.

Wat Haw Pha Kaew.

Wat Haw Pha Kaew.

Wat Haw Pha Kaew.

Wat Haw Pha Kaew.

Wat Haw Pha Kaew.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat

Wat

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat Si Saket.

Wat Si Saket.

Wat Si Saket.

Wat Si Saket.

The most famous temple in Vientiane is Pha That Luang which means the Great Stupa. The golden stupa here is believed to enshrine a breast bone of the Buddha which was brought here by Indian monks during the reign of King Ashoka. This temple features on the Laos coat of arms.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

The Pha That Luang.

The Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

Pha That Luang.

We also visited Patuxai or the Victory Monument. This is an arch that looks a bit like the Arc d'Triomphe. Patuxai Monument is located at one end of Lane Xang Avenue; the Presidential Palace is at the other end. The Patuxai Monument was built in the 1960’s in memory of those killed in wars. It is possible to go up to the top of the monument for views over Vientiane. We did this.

Patuxai Monument.

Patuxai Monument.

Patuxai Monument.

Patuxai Monument.

View from the top of the Patuxai Monument.

View from the top of the Patuxai Monument.

.

One of the most enjoyable places we visited was the morning market. I especially liked the fruit and vegetable stalls. The women manning the stalls were extremely lively. Some were singing and dancing, not sure if that's normal or if a celebration was going on.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

At the market.

Another thing we enjoyed, but didn't get that much chance to do as we were on a tour, was just wandering the streets, looking at the people, the shops, the transport, the buildings.

Local Transport.

Local Transport.

Local Transport.

Local Transport.

Local Transport.

Local Transport.

Local Transport.

Local Transport.

School girls buying bread.

School girls buying bread.

Local sellers.

Local sellers.

Local Sellers.

Local Sellers.

Street Scene.

Street Scene.

Street Scene.

Street Scene.

Street Scene.

Street Scene.

We had lunch in a local restaurant. I've forgotten it's name. I think it was part of a hotel. We also had to sample the local beer, of course, and very nice it was, too.

Out for lunch.

Out for lunch.

Posted by irenevt 03:11 Archived in Laos

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Comments

I love the round pointy hats the people are wearing. There is a gentleman in our town who walks about the same time in the morning that we do and he wears a hat like that. We've often wondered where he is from.

I'm enjoying your historic blogs. Are you scanning all these photos?

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, those hats are very common in Vietnam and Laos among other Asian countries.

I was intending to scan my old photos, but that's very time consuming so I'm just taking photos of the photos then cropping off some of the surroundings.

I'm sure that means they're not high quality but it's very fast.

All the best,

Irene

by irenevt

Interesting to read about Vientiane and see your old photos. We changed planes here during our flight from Laos to Hanoi but all we saw of the city was what we could make out from the air, plus rather too many hours in its airport!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, I've never been to its airport. I'd imagine it's quite small. Were you in Liang Prabang? It's beautiful there.

by irenevt

Hope you're enjoying, Asia.

by irenevt

Hi Irene. We did enjoy Asia, but got back yesterday so are now adjusting to grey skies as well as the time difference! We spent several days in Luang Prabang and loved it - probably our favourite place on the whole trip :)

Yes, Vientiane Airport is very small. We had a four hour layover and were bored silly!!

by ToonSarah

Glad you had a good trip. Liang Prabang has great food and drink and lots to see.

by irenevt

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