Vientiane ( Vieng Chan) is the capital and largest city of Laos, situated on the Mekong near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion. Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic centre of Lao

A weekend in Vientiane

Vientiane is a long way from the buzz of cities like Bangkok or Hanoi, and is quite likely to be one of the smallest capital cities you’ll ever visit. Two days is usually enough for most travellers passing through to see the highlights — here’s how we’d suggest spending them.

Morning Market

Every Southeast Asian city has a market that’s a treasure trove of exotic bits and pieces; while Laos cannot rival the markets of Chiang Mai and Bangkok, in Vientiane Talaat Sao, or the morning market, offers a great selection of local offerings, mostly of the fabric-based kind.

The Lao National Museum

This two-storey colonial mansion became the Lao National Museum in 1985 and houses enough relics of Lao history and culture, both ancient and modern, to make a visit worthwhile.

Wat Ho Phra Kaew

Visitors to this lovely temple set amid manicured grounds would never guess it has had such a turbulent history. The wat was originally built in 1565 to serve as the temple of the Lao royal family, but was razed and looted during the Thai invasion.

Buddha Park

Buddha Park, like many ofVientiane’s other attractions, is more curious than spectacular. A rogue monk is said to have attempted to reconsolidate Buddhism and Hinduism into his own brand of mysticism through a rather prolific collection of sculptures depicting various deities and scenes from both religionsin the 1950s.

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