• River cruise
  • Northern Vietnam
  • Central Vietnam
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  • Day Trip
  • Beach Destination
  • Ecotourist Destination
  • Vietnam Discovery
  • Cambodia Wonders
  • Laos Highlights

Destinations

VIENTIANE PREFECTURE

Vientiane or Viengchan (also known as Urban Vientiane) is a prefecture located in Vientiane province. The national capital, Vientiane, is located in the prefecture, which was created in 1989, when it was split off from Vientiane Province.
 
 
Area: 3,920 sq.km
 
Population: 768,743 inhabitants
 
Administrative organization: 9 districts, among which 5 ( Chanthabuly, Sikhottabong, Xaysetha, Sisattanak, Hadxayfong) form the city of Vientiane, officially known as Vientiane Capital.
 
 
Sights of interest
 
Located on a curve of the Mekong River, and bordering Thailand, Vientiane city was built in the 16th century under the reign of King Saysethathirath. The older part of the city has ancient temples, museums, monuments and parks.
 
Protected areas in the prefecture include Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area, Phou Phanang National Protected Area and Houay Ngang Forest Reserve, a good area for bird and butterfly watching.
 
That Luang (Great Stupa) is one of the most significant monument in Laos. The stupa has several terraces with each level representing a different stage of Buddhist enlightenment. The lowest level represents the material world; the highest level represents the world of nothingness. Pha That Luang was built in the 16th century on the ruins of an earlier Khmer temple. Pha That Luang was smashed by a Siamese invasion in 1828, then later reconstructed by the French in 1931.
 
 
 
Wat Sisaket is one of the oldest temples in Vientiane, with large pillars and a five-tiered roof.
Built by King Anouvong in 1818, the Siamese style perhaps saved it from the destruction that came with the Siamese armies in 1828. It is located near the Presidential Palace. A restoration took place in 1935. The inner sanctury contains an extensive displays of Buddha images from the 16th to the 19th century--6840 such images. The grounds are richly planted with a variety of vegetation that is lovingly tended, so it becomes a restful retreat as well.
 
  
 
Wat Sisaket
 
 
Wat Ong Teu Mahavihan was originally built in the 16th century by King Setthathirat, the builder of Pha That Luang. Like the Great Stupa, it was destroyed in the Siamese invasion of 1828 and was later rebuilt in the 19th century. The temple takes its name from the massive 16th century bronze Buddha image, the largest in Vientiane.
 
Wat Ong Teu Mahavihan
 
 
Haw Phra Kaew (Jewel Buddha Image) is a former monastery and long served as royal temple of the Lao monarchs. Originally built in the 16th century by King Setthathirat, it housed the Emerald Buddha (actually carved from a type of jade). It was carried off to by the Siamese in 1779 and placed in the Bangkok temple of the same name.
The original temple was destroyed during the Siamese invasion of 1828 and rebuilt between 1936 and 1942. The main hall is impressive in size and contains excellent examples of Lao Buddhist sculpture.
 
 
Haw Phra Kaew
 
 
Lao National Museum, located in a two-storey colonial mansion since 1985, houses enough relics of Lao history and culture, both ancient and modern.
 
+ The ground floor houses a mixture of ancient items such as dinosaur bones, pottery shards and Khmer sculptures that trace the early history of the region.
 
+ The upstairs exhibits are better organised and trace the modern history of Laos from the Siamese invasions and the French colonial period to the American military presence during the Vietnam War, and through to the present day. There is a heavy emphasis on the struggle for independence and the introduction of communism in 1975, which explains why the museum was originally named the Lao Revolutionary Museum.
 
+ The final room upstairs is a shrine to Kaysong Phomvihane, the prime minister from 1975-1991, with all manner of his personal items including a chest expander and spoon he once used.
 
 
Lao  National  Museum
 
 
Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan (as well as other variations of the spelling), is a sculpture located 25 km southeast from Vientiane, in a meadow by the Mekong river. Although it is not a temple, the park contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. The government operates Buddha Park as a tourist attraction and public park.
 
   
Buddha  Park
 
 
Patuxai, literally translated into “Gate of Triumph”, is dedicated to those who fought to liberate Lao from the French in 1949. The memorial monument began construction in 1957 and completed in 1968. While the arc de Triomphe in Paris inspired the architecture, the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including “Kinnari”, a mythical bird woman. From the top of the monument, vistors can have an excellent panoramic view of the city.
 
Patuxai
 
 
Talat Sao (Morning market). Located at the eastern corner of Lan Xang Rd. and Khu Vieng Rd. in the heart of Vientiane, the Morning market is open daily from 07:00 until around 16:00. The market is two-storey and covered by several sloping roofs. Depending on the time of day and the weather conditions the market can be nearly empty or almost full. Visitors can find a wide range of colourful textiles including silks, wall-hangings and other decorative pieces, traditional wood carvings, mulberry paper and a variety of basketry made from bamboo and rattan
 
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