"Vientiane (Patuxai)" Laos Things to Do Tip by worldtraveler55

Laos Things to Do: 298 reviews and 556 photos


Reminiscent of the Arc de triomphe in Paris, the Patuxai is Vientiane's most prominent monument.
It was built in the 1960s with US-purchased cement that was supposed to have been used for th construction of a new airport. hence it's sometimes called The vertical Runway.
From a distance, Patuxai looks much like its French source of inspiration. up close, however, the Lao design is revealed.
The bas-relief on the sides and the temple-like ornamentation, along the top and cornices are typically Lao, though the execution is at times shoddy.
Don't miss the painted description on the southwest corner, which in a few lines reflectsbith Lao's endearning honesty and naivety to "First World" preoccupations like marketing. One sentence reads; from a closer distance, it appears even less impressive, like a monster of concrete.
A stairway leads through two levels stuffed with souvenir T-shirts to the top levels, from where the views are grand.

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  • Updated Jan 13, 2008
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