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posted Nov 17, 2011, 9:04 PM by Dong Travel Ticketing   [ updated May 14, 2015, 8:58 PM by Vietnam Travel Tour ]


Pha That Luang or Great Stupa is the most important national and religious monument in the country. This magnificent gilded structure was begun in 1566 by one of the nation’s most impor- tant rulers, King Setthathirat. The central stupa is enclosed in an imposing perimeter wall with clois-ters on the inside, many adorned with Buddha images. Originally adorned with gold leaf, the main stupa has a brick core with a stucco layer on top.The whole structure was re-gilded in 1995 as part of the nation’s 20th anniversary celebrations.


When the French took control of the country in the late 19th century they set about totally re-de-signing Vientiane in the same style as the Indochinese capitals of Saigon and Phnom Penh. The wide boulevards lend themselves to monuments on a grand scale and one such is the Patuxai war memorial. It was decided in the late fifties that Lane Xang Avenue - dubbed the Champs Ely-sees of Vientiane - should be crowned with its own version of the Arc de Triomphe (Patuxai in Lao means Gateway of Victory).


The temple was originally built in 1565 to house the Emerald Buddha. The Lao monarchy used this temple for their prayer services until Siamese invaders destroyed it (and took off with the  Emerald  Buddha)  in  1828.The  temple’s main features are the cloister walls containing over 2,000 Buddha images made of silver and ceramics and some original murals in the ordination hall depicting Buddha’s life story.


Situated 25km outside the capital,Xieng Khuan or Buddha Park as it is better known is well worth a visit. This bizarre creation of Luang Pu,a yogi mystic contains a host of Hindu and Bud-dhist statues ranging from Shiva and Vishnu to the Buddha himself.The statues and sculptures come in all shapes and sizes, some even large enough to climb around.


Nam Ngum Lake is lies 80km to the north of Vientiane. The beautiful scenery over the Nam Ngum River and its green valley is enhanced by the presence of this spectacular lake, which is actually a man-made reservoir of a hydroelectric power dam, generating most of the electricity sold to Thailand. It is a rewarding experince to cruise around by motor-boat or spend the day or weekend at one of the bungalows or on the floating restaurant boat” and enjoy the picturesque scenes of water, island, forest and fishing villages.