Vientiane: it’s okay

Vientiane. The capital city of Laos. It’s not spectacular, or even particularly memorable. But, it’s ok, I guess.

(Disclaimer: We were tired when we got to Vientiane. We didn’t see many sights of Vientiane. In fact, I could compile a list of the top ten things we didn’t see in Vientiane, so this post in no way presents an expert opinion of Vientiane.)

I was looking forward to getting down to the riverside when we arrived, being back on the Mekong River. I imagined leafy promenades like we’d found in Luang Prabang. Reality was a little different.


The thing about Laos in April is, it’s hot. I think I’ve mentioned that before (a few times). Temps are pushing the mid-30s (C) by 9am. We had a hotel with a pool, which was lovely, underneath a mango tree bursting with fruit, but the problem with this was it was difficult to drag the kids away to explore the city.


Another problem was that we had seen so many wats in Laos already, that the ones in Vientiane didn’t hold a lot of interest. This was Wat Si Saket, Vientiane’s oldest temple. There was an impressively large collection of Buddhas. Blake was less than impressed.


The sprinkler in the grounds was a highlight.


But it seems they couldn’t wait to leave…


We did manage to find Patuxai, Laos’ very own Arc de Triomphe. Literally, Patuxai translates to ‘Arch of Victory’. It looks impressive from a distance. Up close, it’s a less-impressive block of concrete with some ornate reliefs and cornices, also known as the ‘vertical runway’ because the concrete, purchased from America, was supposed to be used in the construction of a new airport. I don’t know what happened to the airport, but this is Patuxai.

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It was a sweaty climb to the top.


The view was alright, and there was a little bit of a breeze up there, too.


Apparently those fountains are lit up with colourful dancing lights at night. We missed that.

The kids’ favourite part of sightseeing in Vientiane was taking a break from sightseeing in Vientiane.

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Blake was trying to work out how to get back to the hotel pool.


I found this shiny seven-headed naga on one of the wats when I was out buying bus tickets.


I’m well aware that we missed most of the city’s main attractions, but faced with the choice of dragging two hot and whingy kids around, or relaxing by the pool with cool and non-whingy kids, well… it wasn’t really a choice.

So there you have it: Vientiane. The pool was nice.

You can read about our more enthusiastic adventures in Laos, too:


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