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VIENTIANE CAPITAL  

      Vientiane is the capital of Laos with a population of presently 464.000, located on the bank of the Mekong river. Most travellers are fascinated by the city's exotic Eurasian setting. The confluence of several cultures has given Vientiane an appealing ambience.
Tree-lined boulevards, French historical dwellings and Buddhists temples dominate the scene of central Vientiane and impart a unique character of timelessness.
Vientiane 's major attractions are its scenic Buddhist monasteries and the

significant monuments that dominate the scenery of the capital which include Vat Sisaket, Vat Hoprakeo Patousay, That Luang stupa , Vat Ongtu, etc...
Vientiane 's That Luang stupa is the most impressive and biggest stupa in Laos , featured on the Lao insignia. This stupa was constructed in 1566 by King Setthathirat. The Siamese damaged it badly during their invasion in 1828, but it was restored in the 1936s. In mid-November, religious rites as well as a fair are held here during the That Luang festival.
      Don't forget to visit That Luang festival. It takes place at the time of the fullmoon of the 12th lunar month (November 21-22-23,99 and November 09-10-11, 2000). This is a Buddhist festival to honour the That which is considered as the national shrine. One of the days of this three-day festival is very special as large crowds gather at 6:00 am for an impressive ceremony of prayers and aims-giving.
     Vat Phra Keo was also constructed by King Setthathirat. It was rebuilt after the Siamese razed it during the Siamese-Lao war of 1828. The building had housed the Emerald Buddha until it was taken to Bangkok following a skirmish with the Lao in 1778. Vat Phra Keo still displays some of the finest Buddha sculptures found in the country.
     The Patousay on Lane Xang Avenue is a large monument reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris . Its architecture incorporates typical Lao motifs. From the top one can have a panoramic view of the entire city.
     Vat Sisaket is the oldest temple of Vientiane , which has survived in its original fomi. Inside the main hall, and along the walls of the courtyard surrounding it, a total of 6,840 Buddha images rest in small niches or on shelves. At Vat Ong Teu resides the Buddhist Institute where monks can study their religion under the guidance of senior instructors.
     Revolutionary Museum , housed in an impressive French colonial building. The museum pays tribute to the sacrifices of the Lao People in freeing the country from colonial rule.
     The upstairs galleries feature photographs, artifacts and old weapons from the revolution, as well as maps, paintings and dioramas. Downstairs holds an archaeological display and exhibits about modern Laos .
Hours: 08.00-11.30, 14.00-16.00. Saturday 08.00-11.00.
Vat Xieng Khouane ( Buddha Park ): the park is in pleasant and it's a religious culture park located by the Mekong River 24 kilometers down river from Vientiane . Features include an enormous concrete reclining Buddha, and a three-tiered model of heaven, earth and hell which visitors may climb through.
Hours: 08.00-16.30.
Weaving Village: A halfday excursion of South Vientiane , where you can see the breeding of the silkworms in most of the houses and traditional weaving. Tour ends with a visit to the Buddha Park near Thadeua, the border crossing point with Thailand and the National Ethnic Park beside the Friendship Bridge .
Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort: About 60 kms from Vientiane , it is the eco-paradise hideaway. Nam Ngurn lake. This majestic and serene location is a nature lover's paradise of over 250 square kilometers. Blossoming out of this beautiful environment is The Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort. The initial phase of this eco-tourism is now open and features a hotel, restaurants, spa and gaming center. Future development will include the outdoor entertainment Park , a fun-fair venue, a lakeside, clubhouse, together with jetty boats, marine sports and golfing facilities.
The lake is dotted with hundreds of picturesque islands, which can be explored by cruising around in small boats. It might also be interesting to watch the locals felling underwater teak trees, which were submerged when the Nam Ngum lake area was inundated. Near the lake, at Vangsang, primitive Buddha images, dating from the 11th century, are carved into a rock cliff.
     Vangvieng: Vientiane Province offers impressive scenery. At Vangvieng, 160 km north of Vientiane municipality, breathtaking limestone formations nestle along the Song River . The rocks are honeycombed with numerous caves, the most famous of which is Tham Jang. Many of these caves can be reached by foot from Vangvieng.
Lao Pako: It is an ecotourism lodge, located on Namngum River about 50 kms from Vientiane . Access is by an interesting drive from Vientiane to Ban Somxamai. From there, it is approximately 25 minutes by local boat. The river trip is fascinating, offering a chance of natural surrounding views.
Phongsaly is situated in the most Northern tip of Laos , enclosed three sides by china and Vietnam and cut off to overland travel from Oudomsay to the South. It consists of six districts: Phongsaly, Muangmai, Muangkhua,Samphan,Sombounxay and Yot Ou.
     More than twenty ethnicities make up the province's population of approximately 153,400; among them Iko, Loma, Akha, Pusang, Thai Dam, Thai Deng, Yao, Thai Lu, Khamou, Phal, Solo, Lao Hoy etc... All retain distinct cultures, Languages and religious beliefs, though their most obvious diffirence is their dress of the women of each tribe. Handicraft skills-notably in weaving, embroidery and making silver jewelry are also well developed.
Phongsaly can be reached by road and river, from Oudomsay it is possible to travel by road as far as Muangkhua in Southern Phongsaly then continues by boat. From Luangnamtha it is possible to travel by road via Muangla ( Yunnan province, China ). From Luangprabang it is possible through the Nam Ou river straight north into the hearth of Phongsaly. Another way, you can travel by Lao Aviation, which provides two flights per week.

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