Vientiane

Vientiane

Capital Of Laos - Advanced



V ientiane is the capital of Laos, a country in Southeast Asia surrounded by Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. The capital rests on the bank of the Mekong River and is now the largest city in the country with a population of around 850,000. Thailand sits directly across the river which acts as a border between the two countries. The name Vientiane is actually French. The capital is known as “Viang Jan” in Lao. In 1563, King Setthathirat moved the capital to its current location, away from the old capital, Luang Prabang.

Vientiane’s territory has been disputed throughout its history. The city suffered attacks from both the Burmese and the Thais in the first few hundred years of its establishment. Then the city was burned to the ground and abandoned around 1827. The French took control of the city in 1893, then the Japanese attacked and occupied the city during World War II. The French reclaimed the city near the end of the war but eventually transferred power over to the Lao government in 1953. The country then fell into a civil war which lasted nearly 20 years. The Lao royal government fought against the communist party in Lao until 1975 when the royal government surrendered.

Today the city is a hub for backpackers and the economic center of the country. There are many international restaurants, open-air cafes, and boutiques for tourists to enjoy. The night market alongside the river is especially beautiful in the evenings. Not far from the city center, past the embassies, government buildings, and NGOs, one can still find tranquil dirt roads lined with trees. The city itself is relatively small for a capital. Wattay International Airport is only a 10-15 minute drive from the city center.

There are several great places to explore as a tourist in Vientiane. That Luang stupa is said to hold an artifact of the Buddha himself. It was built in 1566 and is the most important monument in the country. Patuxai, or ‘Victory Gate’ in English, resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and represents Lao Independence. It was completed in 1968 with cement and money from the United States for the purpose of building a new airport. Haw Phra Kaew and Wat Sisaket are two beautiful temples across the street from each other. Haw Phra Kaew once held the legendary Emerald Buddha, but in 1779 the statue was taken by a Thai general who attacked the city. The figurine now sits within the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Wat Sisaket was built in 1818 and is the only original temple to survive the cities violent past.

Most tourists only spend a few days in the capital before heading off on other adventures. But everyone should check out Buddha Park, a peaceful place near the Friendship Bridge to Thailand before leaving.

Source:http://www.visit-laos.com/

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