“Simply Beautiful” is Laos’ official tourism slogan, and i knew now exactly what it means, it’s beauty lies in it’s simplicity and laid back lifestyle, a once French colony that remained culturally untouched and still gives a feeling of tranquility, very rural, very old, very Asia!
It is very timely for me to visit Laos after my Europe and Australia trips, it’s like after being amazed with modernization, it’s time to look back again to something i grew up loving, yeah it is so much like the Philippines rural provinces, but Laos is unique on it’s own, their cuisine, their silk, monks in all ages walking around, Beer Lao, sticky rice, religious caves, picturesque sceneries and a LOT more! Simple yet beautiful :)
Vientiane is the largest and capital city of Laos, for me it has nothing much to offer, a day or two is enough for going around and see the city. We just have to include this on our itinerary as this is our point of entry to Laos from KL via Airasia. We opted to fly to KL and fly from there to Vientiane as it is sooooo much cheaper than taking a direct flight from Singapore. One proof that Laos is not a popular destination but I believe it is now making noise among “travelers” who enjoyed their stay there.
Places we visited in Vientiane:
1. Patuxai – it’s Laos version of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, the design was patterned or inspired by it’s architecture but they used Laotian motifs and ornaments. The name itself is also Gate of Victory, it is just ironic that it was an imitation of Arc de Triomphe but Patuxai is a monument to those fought against the French :P
It is also called a “vertical runway” coz the budget they used for building this was donated by the Americans to build their city airport :D
2. Wat Sisaket – Vientiane’s oldest surviving monastery, this was where the Lao lords and nobles came to swear allegiance to the King.
3. Pha That Luang – a gold covered Buddhist stupa that is known as Laos national symbol and the most important national monument in Laos coz of it has a lot of referneces for Lao culture.
4. Haw Phra Kaew – yup, the same name of temple in Bangkok coz they both housed the Emerald Buddha. It was closing already when we got here so didn’t see much of this structure which was rebuilt by the French and is now a museum and a shop.
5. Buddha Park – located 30mins from city center, this park is a collection of Buddhist and Hindu statues along the mekong River. Some of the statues are somehow weird as it was perhaps characters from Buddhist of Hindu myths or tales, they also have a reclining Buddha and a giant ball consisting a demon’s mouth, and inside are 3 levels with different stories of the stages you’ll go through from hell to heaven.
It was a quick stopover of 2 days here in Vientiane, then we are all excited to go to Vang Vieng already to see what’s the fuss all about this place! If you are visiting or stopping by Vientiane too, don’t miss the Buddha Park then, because IT ROCKS! \m/ haha!