Stopping By 'Pha That Luang,' Like the Eiffel Tower Of Laos
Even though the recession has hampered exotic travel, there are still those intrepid explorers going all out. All this week, our Cambodian embed Claire will share experiences from her trip to Laos.
Vientiane, the capital on the Thai border, resembles a small, riverside town with wide, empty sidewalks and open boulevards that starkly contrast with the crowded madness of the region’s other capitals in Hanoi, Phnom Penh, and Bangkok.
Even the waterfront remains curiously green and serene, with a few food stalls set up serving drinks and food to customers sitting on floor rugs along the river.
The main attraction in Vientiane is Pha That Luang, which symbolizes Laos like Angkor Wat symbolizes Cambodia, the Eiffel Tour symbolizes France or McDonalds’ golden arches symbolize the United States. The curved, golden building shaped like a lotus bud was actually only built in 1931, because Thai and French imperialism destroyed both previous incarnations dating back to 1566.
Continuing through the town to Patuxai, another one of the Vientiane’s attractions, we were wary of its tourist trap reputation but found it to actually be kind of neat. Thought of as a poor man’s Arc de Triomphe of sorts, this arched monument doesn’t even think much of itself. The plaque out front reads like the verbatim recitation of a third-person indictment. It says, “From a close distance, it appears even less impressive, like a monster of concrete.”
Maybe it is just like how we always go for guys with low self-esteem, since we found the monument to be cooler than it thinks it is. The ceiling inside the dome under the arches is intricately painted and you can climb up to its top for a spectacular view of the city. After our party-down time in Veng Vieng, this restful place is exactly what we needed.
Stay tuned tomorrow as Claire wraps up her trip around Laos with a traveler's dream: hammock lounging and temple climbing.
· All Laos Field Trip posts [Jaunted]
· Buffalo Slim Jims and Waterfall Swims In Laos [Jaunted]
· Heading To Laos To Discover The Best of Indochina [Jaunted]