Thursday, June 27, 2013

Visit Vientiane Capital

Located on a curve of the Mekong River, Vientiane Capital has a recorded history that stretches back to around 1.000 AD. The area was originally settled because of the fertility of the surrounding alluvial plains, and Vientiane became the capital city of Laos around the mid 16th century.

Vientiane Capital is the home to the most significant national monument in Laos : That Luang (Great Stupa), which is the symbol of Lao sovereignty and an icon of Buddhism in Laos. Of the many beautiful Wats in Vientiane, a visit to Wat Sisaket is a must; built in 1818, this is one of the oldest temples in Vientiane. Other Buddhist holy places are Wat Ong Teu Mahavihan, known for its 16th century bronze Buddha sheltered by a carved wooden masterpiece, and Wat Si Muang, The site of the lak meuang or pillar-stone of Vientiane. The Wat Si Muang is the home to the guardian spirit of the city. Hor Pha Keo, across the street from Wat Sisaket houses a beautiful collection of Buddha statues, including traditional Lao style of the "Calling for Rain" and "Offering Protection". Spend a morning in the Lao National Museum, which displays an interesting mixture of revolutionary and contemporary exhibitions. The main sights in Vientiane are only a short walk or bicycle ride from most hotels. Wat Xieng Khouan, better known as the Buddha Park should not be missed: take a tuk-tuk to this unique park that includes Buddhist and Hindu. Shopping for handicrafts is easy in Vientiane Capital; visit the Talat Sao (morning market) for a wide range of colourful textiles including silks, wall-hangings and other decorative pieces. For very fine handicrafts, try one of the many upscale galleries in city center. Keep your eyes open for traditional wood carvings, mulberry paper and a variety of basketry made from bamboo and rattan.