Vientiane's Arc du Triomphe
What we say:
The large concrete monolith at the end of Lane Xang Ave is Patuxai, the Victory Gate of Vientiane. Except for the Buddhist details visible up close, Patuxai was clearly designed to resemble Paris's Arc du Triomphe.
We're not sure what victory it's supposed to be celebrating -- perhaps the end of French colonisation? A small plaque describing its history is comically modest, calling Patuxai a "monster of concrete" and "less impressive" from a closer distance. Construction was completed in the late 1960s and it was built using concrete donated by the USA for building a new airport, hence its other nickname: Vientiane's "vertical runway". It's possible to climb to the seventh floor for a good city view (3,000 kip), but unfortunately they lock it up by late afternoon so you can't stick around for the sunset.
The park surrounding Patuxai is a lovely spot with flower gardens, a dancing fountain, snack stalls and plenty of benches. It's a popular relaxation spot for students, monks and families and a reliable place to strike up conversation with locals. If you plan to spend any time here, however, bring plenty of sunscreen as the rays can be brutal.
More detailsLane Xang Ave
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00, Sat-Sun 8:00-17:00
Last updated: 5th November, 2013
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