Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,
This delightfully friendly capital, studded with crumbling French mansions, bougainvillea­-blooming streets and steaming noodle stalls, is somewhere between a big town and a diminutive city; the kind of place you might find a Graham Greene protagonist. Its conveniently compact travellers’ enclave is based around Nam Phu, the Mekong riverside and Setthariat and Samsenthai streets. Full of things to see, from Buddha Park to the Morning market and an impossibly rich selection of international cuisine – most pointedly French – you’ll find yourself slowly won over by the easy charms of this evolving backwater.
The city may reveal its beauty less readily than Luang Prabang, but spend a few days visiting its unusual sights, sampling its excellent food and enjoying a Beer Lao at sunset by the river, and you’ll soon feel at home here. Vientiane delivers a relaxing riverside break where one of the best things you can do is grab a drink and enjoy the sun’s spectacular show as it sets over the Mekong.
Despite being the largest city in Laos and the hub of commerce and administration, Vientiane is still refreshingly laid back.
The city offers a great choice of accommodation, restaurants and pavement cafes some adding a French air with their style of architecture which contrasts pleasingly with the old Buddhist temples dotted around. There are plenty of things to do after dark and bars cater to all tastes from backpacker beer haunts to elegant cocktail lounges. Navigating Vientiane is relatively simple due to its size and sightseeing can be done either on foot, by bike or by hiring a song-teow.
The countryside is never far away, with rice paddies providing a backdrop to most streets. Culture buffs should make the Laos National Museum their first stop.
When in Laos, do as the Laos do and the slow the pace right down. A common joke is that acronym PDF (Peoples Democratic Republic) actually stands for 'Please Slow Down’. A word of warning to the anally punctual, the country is decidedly laid back and some visitors may mistake this for a lack of ambition or impolitesse but regardless, it's best not to expect things to run like clockwork. (Lonely Planet)
<u>Now For A Bit Of History</u>
According to myth, the city of Vientiane was created by the Naga Souvannanak. Vientiane was an ancient city whose territories covered both banks of the Mekong River. The first name of Vientiane was "Ban Nong Khanthae Phiseuanam" village, which later became “Vientiane” town under the leadership of the first Governor, Bourichan or Phraya Chanthabouly Pasitthisak, between 430-120 B.C. In 1357 King Fa Ngoum held a grandiose celebration for the great victory of the unification of all Lao territories enhancing his prestige and power over the nobility throughout the Lane Xang Kingdom and the neighboring kingdoms. It was organized in the Pak Pasak area in present day Vientiane. In 1560, King Saysettha moved from Luang Prabang to declare Vientiane as the capital city of the Lane Xang kingdom, naming it “Nakorn Chanthabouly Sitta tanakhanahood Outtama Rajathany”.
During the reign of King Souliyavongsa Thamikarat in the 17th century, Vientiane grew to become one of the most developed civilizations.
The city was the center of administration for politics, socio-economics and culture. The kings were brave, clever and kind and people were happy. The palaces were very beautiful, looking like golden houses standing along the bank of the Mekong River. However, Vientiane was burnt down by Siames troops in 1828, and divided into two cities. The city on the right side of the Mekong River became part of Siam and the city on the left side remained part of Laos.
At present, Vientiane is a smaller city, only half of its former size.
In the years of 2009 and 2010; two great historical events take place in Vientiane. In 2009 we hosted the 25th annual SEA Games and in 2010 we held a celebration of the 450th anniversary of the foundation of Vientiane as the Capital (1560-2010). To prepared for the above auspicious events Vientiane people have continued developing the city to be peaceful, clean, green, charming, light and civilized.
Vieng (Vien) in the Lao language means “the city”. Chantha (tiane) a Pali word, means sandalwood or the moon.
In the old part of Vientiane city, an attractive and interesting settlement is situated along the Mekong River where the ancient temples, museums, monuments and parks are all located just a short distance apart. The cosmopolitan capital of Laos, Vientiane, has galleries, boutiques, theatres, nightclubs and internet cafe, making it a major attraction for visitors from all around the globe. Although the city is small, it offers visitors a great variety of restaurant serving both Lao and foreign cuisine.
<u>What Is The Buddha Park</u>
Buddha Park (aka Xieng Khuan) is a famous sculpture park with more than 200 religious statues including a huge 40-metre high reclining Buddha image. The best spot for photography here is on top of the giant pumpkin structure standing about three stories high. The entrance is crafted to look like a demon’s mouth (about three meters high) with a stone ladder inside leading to a bird's eye view of the entire Xieng Kuan Park.
It was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat, a monk who studied both Buddhism and Hinduism. This explains why his park is full not only of Buddha images but also of Hindu gods as well as demons and animals from both beliefs. Buddha Park, like many of Vientiane’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 religions in the 1950s.
The most outstanding ones include Indra, the king of Hindu gods riding the three-headed elephant (aka Erawan and Airavata), a four-armed deity sitting on a horse and an artistic deity with 12 faces and many hands, each holding interesting objects. They are all equally impressive not only because of their enormous size but because they are full of interesting details and interesting motifs. (Vientiane Website)
Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________
The soundtrack to this entry was by Ride The album was ‘Carnival of Light’ ____________________________________________________________