Vientiane is the capital of Laos and I have read it has undergone rapid changes since the strict Communist stance of the country was relaxed after 1991. We flew from Luang Prabang and arrived in Vientiane after a 3 hour delay.

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It is easy to explore on foot but when we were there in early October it was incredibly hot so although we did lots of walking we had to take a lot of juice breaks!

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Vientiane has some beautiful temples to visit, numerous cafes, boutiques and restaurants. We walked to Patuxai which means victory gate – sort of an Arc De Triomphe monument. It was constructed to commemorate the lives lost during the Lao civil war  (1953-1975).  It is built of concrete rumored to have been donated by the Americans for the construction of a new airport..pretty funny if true!

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Vientiane is located on a bend of the Mekong river.  Along the riverfront – Fa Ngum Road they have built a sort of esplanade which is filled with locals doing aerobics in the evenings, very entertaining to watch, and a big market which is set up each evening. The area is a bit dead during the day. I’ve heard that it used to be nicer before the area was developed – more grassy rather than concreted areas with big shady trees. We haven’t been before so we wouldn’t really know. The place was interesting to stroll along in the evening, nice to watch the sunset over the Mekong but pretty dead and hot during the day.

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We visited numerous lovely wats (temples) which included Wats Si Saket, Si Muan, On Teu Mahawihan, the huge Wat Pha That Luang and some wonderful bronze sculptures outside of Haw Pha Kaew. I’m sure I’ve missed a few!

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There was quite a bit of renovation going on.

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In one of the temples a monk was saying blessings for people –  for good health etc. He ties an orange/yellow little band around your wrist while doing so. Anyway we joined in and the young monk was keen to have a chat and happy to have his photo taken.

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The next day we thought we would do something different and took a trip to Xieng Khuan also known as Buddha Park about 26 km out of town.

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Vientiane is an interesting city that has survived lots of changes over the centuries from being a Khmer trading post, then being destroyed by the Siamese, and then taken over by French colonialists.