Sunday, October 14, 2012

Laos Capital City: Vientiane for a Day!

They say there’s nothing much to do in Vientiane that an expert traveler would skip this historical capital city of Laos… But as a greenhorn backpacker, I’d like to see it for myself. Though I didn’t really plan staying in the city for a night, I had few sites I wanted to visit. But due to the unbearable high temperature, I only managed to see two, albeit important ones.

1.      Patuxai

Perhaps the most famous landmark of Vientiane is Patuxai, also known as the Victory Gate. The first time I saw this photo, I thought it was taken from somewhere in Europe. Well, Laos was once colonized by France, and this is them telling us that they were once here.

You can climb the top of Patuxai to see the panoramic view of the town. Entrance fee is 3,000 kip. I paid in baht (15baht) because I wasn’t able to change my money yet to Lao kip. (Baht is widely acceptable in Vientiane.)

Can’t exactly remember how many floors there is that consist the monument. But each floors houses different stall selling different kind of souvenir items.

Climbing the stairs to the top can be very exhausting. Especially if you haven’t eaten anything yet since you arrive the country. Haha. I had bottled water to sustain my energy and slowly, I succeeded it – panting, almost out of breath.

If only I can leave my backpack in one of the souvenir stores, so I can roam around freely. But I think I had to endure all of it. My only consolation perhaps was the promising 360 degree-view of Vientiane right in front of me.

Even though I wasn’t able to explore the town itself, I think the picture I’ve seen on top of Patuxai will do me, for now.

Patuxai can be compared to our Luneta Park, camera men are all over the place. Mind you, they’re not your ordinary camera men, because they have the most updated cameras in hand… (naghahabaan pati ang mga lente nila) and they have mobile developing area… you can see it at the back of their vans located in the parking area. 

2.    Pha That Luang

Not very far from Patuxai, is the Pha That Luang also known as the National Monument. I saw it from the map displayed in the Victory Gate. So I just asked for directions and walked relaxingly under the excruciating heat of the sun.  

It took me at least 15 minutes to get to the temple. There’s an entrance fee for foreign visitors, so I didn’t bother. I just took few shots outside and check other temples near it that doesn’t require you to pay for the entrance.

While trying to differentiate my baht and kip bills… I realized Lao money has this photo of National Monument. Made me think, did I really make the right choice skipping to view the temple? After all, it’s called the national monument. It must have played a bigger role to the history of Lao Republic. It was a cheap entrance fee though, I just didn’t want to spend another dime because I was trying to save my money. Haay.

I wanted to experience more of Vientiane but the heat was totally unbearable. Besides, I cannot spend much in the city because I still have Luang Prabang waiting for me.

Before heading to the terminal for my bus ride to Luang Prabang, I went to a bank near the National Monument to change my Thai baht to Laotian kip. (1 baht = 268 kip).


  1. Indeed, sometimes you just gotta see a city for yourself instead of constructing conclusion based on other people's accounts. Haven't been top Vientiane, and am really itching to get there!

  2. true. Vientiane isn't that bad after all. of course, it has it's own beauty. it's worth a visit. Thanks for dropping by.