According to ITYPEMBA, Vientiane is the capital of Laos. The city stands on the banks of the Mekong River and is surrounded by fertile plains. Many buildings in Vientiane are reminiscent of the country’s close ties with Europe, such as the old colonial French mansions or the triumphal arch of Patusai, built in a style close to rococo. The triumphal arch was erected in honor of the fighters who gave their lives for the freedom of the country.
The main temple of the capital and all of Laos is That Luang, built in the 16th century. Excavations carried out directly at the temple show that in this place in the XI-XIII centuries. n. e. was an ancient Khmer monastery. The temple symbolizes the unity of Laos and Buddhism.
Among the other attractions, one should highlight the Museum of the Lao Revolution, the former royal temple Wat Ho Prakeo, the oldest temple in Vientiane Wat Sisaket, famous for the fact that a covered gallery stretches around it, all the walls of which are dotted with niches with Buddha figurines.
Vientiane is a small city. Two of its main streets run parallel to the Mekong, one is perpendicular. Almost anywhere can be reached by bike. The closest you can get to know the life of the Laotians is in the market. In Vientiane, it is worth stopping by the Tolacao morning market, where everything is sold – from tablecloths, scarves, national men’s and women’s clothing, to gold jewelry, Chinese porcelain and electronics.
23 km south of Vientiane is Xieng Khuan Buddha Park – a statue park with many statues from both the Buddhist and Hindu religions. On the territory of the park there is a building in the shape of a ball, in which you can also see statues. From the top of this building, you can see the entire park and the giant reclining Buddha statue.
Vang Vieng (Laos)
Vang Vieng is located almost in the middle between Vientiane and Lung Prabang. The Nam Song River flowing through the area gives the small town a unique charm.
The main attraction of Vang Vieng and its environs are numerous karst caves, for which many tourists come here to see. Tham Chang Cave is located 2 km from the city center and is often reached by bike. The cave offers a view of the city and the surrounding rice fields. It is well lit and below it are several natural pools.
To the north of Vang Vieng is the Tham Phapouae cave. It is long and very narrow in places.
South of the city, on the opposite bank of the river, is the Tham Poukham cave, which can be reached both by bicycle and on foot. Inside the cave is a statue of a sleeping Buddha.
Tham Xang Cave or Elephant Cave is located 12 km north of the city, near the village of Tham Xang. It got its name from a stalactite in the shape of an elephant’s head. Inside there are many statues of the Buddha, the imprint of his foot, as well as a small natural pool in which you can swim.
You can visit the caves on your own, but for more difficult routes it is worth hiring a guide. Also, Vang Vieng will be of interest to lovers of rafting and trekking. Tubing is one of the most popular activities in Vang Vieng. or river rafting on a rubber ring. The ring is launched a few kilometers upstream and you sail on it to the city. The current of the river is not strong, but constant. Along the way, you can make stops for outdoor recreation or in local pubs. If you are going to visit bars along the way, then the trip should start as early as possible. It should be remembered that in summer the flow of the river is very weak and part of the path may have to be covered on foot.
Luang Prabang (Laos)
Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Laos, is the cultural and religious center of the country. The city stands on the banks of the Mekong at an altitude of 700 m above sea level. In 1995, Luang Prabang was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are 32 large temple complexes in the city. One of the most impressive temples is the royal temple of Wat Xieng Thong, decorated with gold and colored glass.
Worth visiting is the Palace Museum, once the Royal Palace, which houses an impressive collection of items belonging to the former rulers of Lan Xang.
In the city, you can climb Mount Phu Si, which offers a panorama of the city and the surrounding river valleys. Located on the top of the mountain Phu Si temple, and halfway up to it there is a small cave and a footprint of the Buddha.
If you take a boat to the other side of the Mekong, you can visit several ancient temples that have not been restored at all and look abandoned, and Vat Chomphet offers stunning views of Luang Prabang.
Very interesting cave-temple Pak Oulocated 25 km from Luang Prabang. You can get to it either along the Mekong by boat, or by tuk-tuk, or with a guided tour. Two caves, Tham Ting and Tham Phun, contain numerous statues of the Buddha. The caves offer a breathtaking view of the Mekong and the jungle-covered mountains.
30 km from Luang Prabang is located Kuang Si waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Southeast Asia.