Nestled peacefully in a languid bend in the Mekong, Vientiane exudes the air of an easy-going town rather than a chaotic capital city. Walking past old colonial mansions that line the broad, airy boulevards you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Europe, whilst the slow-pace and friendly atmosphere are quintessentially Laos.
Vientiane’s oldest temple, having survived several sackings of the city, Wat Sisaket was built in 1818. Within the walls the cloisters provide atmospheric explorations, with niches full of small Buddhas with lines of their larger counterparts lining the walls, all under an elaborate five tiered roof.
The national symbol of Laos and the country’s most important religious building, the current That Luang sits on the site of a much earlier building. This gold covered stupa is located just outside of Vientiane’s centre is surrounded by cloisters that feature fascinating old images of Buddha. Ask your guide to time your visit to enjoy the beauty of the stupa at sunset.
Located about 40 minutes by road south of Vientiane, the Buddha Park sits in a picturesque location on the Mekong. Here you’ll find sculptures depicting both Hindu and Buddhist deities scattered throughout the lush riverside meadows. This fascinating and rather eccentric place was founded in the 1950s by a holy man who merged Hindu and Buddhist philosophies.
The Green Park in Vientiane blends the contemporary architecture of Laos with elegant interiors to create a stylish and relaxing hotel. Rooms are spacious and classically furnished with a private balcony or terrace. Hotel facilities include the Champa Lao Spa, a fitness room and a swimming pool.
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The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.