- Location: on the Mekong river near the border with Thailand, the largest city of Laos
Status: Laos’ Capital
Name meaning: the city of sandalwood
Population: 730,000 people (2005)
Area: 3,920 kilometers
Highlights: Combination of traditional and modern architecture; beautiful temples and pagodas
Lao-Thai friendship bridge
Vientiane - the capital of Laos - is a peaceful city located on the Mekong River. With the total area of 3,920 square kilometers and the population of 610,000 people, Vientiane is quite small as compared to Thailand or Hanoi. Vientiane is old - aged city which has more than 400 years of constructing and developing since 16th century.
Vientiane is the perfect combination of traditional and modern architecture. In Vientiane, ancient constructions and traditional temples and pagodas harmoniously co-exist with new and modern-constructed buildings. Vientiane is famous for its imbued religious architectural space with various Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monuments such as Buddha Park (Wat Xieng Khuan) contains over 200 unique and diverse Hindu and Buddhist statues, Wat Si Muang - a temple was built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu shrine, the remains of which can be seen behind the ordination hall and Wat Sisaket – a nearly 200-year-old temple on Lan Xang Road which normally held Emerald Buddha, etc. Being there, tourists will be immersed in the peaceful and close space and let the burden and worries swept away. However, a cosmopolitan Vientiane with many galleries, boutiques, theaters and night clubs makes it not silent and sleepy.
As one said, Vientiane has beauty of three women at three different age. Vientiane has beauty of a reserved and discreet young lady, a worried and careful of married woman and a humble and resigned of old age woman. The mixture makes a Vientiane very typical and very special which will leave unforgettable imprints in tourists’ mind. In this devout Buddhist nation, people are incredibly humble and modest. On sunny day, despite the crowded street, people hardly use horn or wriggle which leave nice impression on tourists.
Overall, coming to Vientiane like a journey to take back the calm and balance to your soul. Watching amazingly beautiful Buddhist temples and pagodas, feeling the religious space and meeting friendly and modest people will absolutely make tourists pleased and comfortable.