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Art and Culture in Vientiane

Sisaket Temple

This temple is located in the center of the old city and was built in 1818 by King Anouvong and is Vientiane’s oldest remaining temple having survived the destination of the city by the Siamese in 1828.

The oldest monastery stands intact in its original from and certainly is one of the most interesting in the country. Inside the main hall, the courtyard walls house hundreds of little niches and shelves containing a total of 6,840 Buddha images. Ho Trai is a hall containing many Buddhist manuscripts, which were published in the 18th century. The temple is also renowned after featuring as the Lao national emblem at the 1970 Expo Osaka in Japan.

The temple is opened daily from 08:00H to 12:00H and 13:00H to 16:00H.

Hor Phrakeo temple

Previously the ancient temple, it was built in 1565 by King Saysetthathirath to house the Emerald Buddha (lost to the Siamese in 1828) as his personal place of worship. For this reason and unlike other temples in Laos, monks have not taken up residence here. During the 1970’s the temple was converted from a place of worship into a museum and it now houses nation’s finest collection of Buddhist sculpture and artifacts.

From the terrace of Hor Phrakeo a view overlooking the President’ Palace (former Royal Palace) and gardens can be enjoyed. The museum is open daily 08:00H to 12:00H and 13:00H to 16:00H.

Pha Thatluang

Originally built in 1566 by King Saysetthathirath, That Luang Stupa was rebuilt in 1953. The golden stupa stands 45 meters tall and is believed to contain a relic of Lord Buddha. Today it is the nation’s most important cultural monument. Symbolizing the coming together of all Lao people it holds a special place in the national psyche.

The gold colored centerpiece of this stupa echoes the curve of an elongated Lotus bud. The shrine is the focus for the annual That Luang Festival. The festival is celebrated for 7 days and nights during the twelfth full moon of the Buddhist lunar calendar where monks are presented with flower offerings and residents enjoy traditional cultural performances.

That Luang Stupa is open from 8:00H to 16:00H, except Mondays and public holidays.

Inpeng Temple

Wat Inpeng Pagoda is a historical landmark of arts and culture, located on the north of Wat Ongtue Temple. There are many historical elements of interest to those studying Lao art and culture including the rock sculptures, Buddha image and rock columns depicting Mon and Khmer cultures.Despite many of the original items in this temple having since been removed. The pagoda still corresponds to the King of Gods. It was once said that during construction, He transformed himself into an old wise man to assist with construction. Legend also holds that He further transformed himself into an old white monk to help construct the Buddha image. From then on, the temple became known as Wat Inpeng, which means “to transform”.

Simuang Temple

The original foundation pillar of Vientiane can be found in Wat Simuang, which is located in Simuang village along the Sethathirath Road. It was built in 1956 and is thought to be guarded by the spirit a local girl called “Si”. Local legend has it that Nang Si, who was pregnant at the time, leapt to her death as a sacrifice, just as the pillar was being lowered into the hold. A very colorful Phasat Pheung (wax pavilion procession) takes place two days prior to the That Luang Festival in November, which attracts large crowds to Wat Simuang Temple.

That Dam

The so-called " black stupa" Or That Dam, local mythology says the stupa is the abode o f  dormant seven-headed dragon that came to life during the 1828 Siamese-Lao war and protected lacal cities. The stupa appears to date from the Lanna or early Lane Xang period and is very similar to stupas in Chiang Saen, Thailand. Until recenly That Dam was overgrown with weeds sprouting through cracks in its an stucco structure; a 1995 renovation sealed the cracks but it still looks old and atmospheric.

Xieng Khuane

The Xieng Khouang Buddha Park is a religious sculpture park, which was built in 1958. A collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures is scattered amongst gardens and trees. Built about 28 kilometers south of Vientiane backing onto the Mekong River, the town of Nongkhai in neighboring Thailand can be seen on the opposite side of the river.

The park is open daily from 08:00H to 16:30H.


The memorial monument of Patuxay is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city. It was constructed in its prominent position on Lanexang Avenue in 1958. While the architecture was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including “Kinnari”, a mythical bird woman.

Energetic visitors can climb to the top of the monument. Which reveals an excellent panoramic view of the city? The monument is open daily from 08:00H to 17:00H.

Contact information : Lao Tourism Organization.
Address :                  Sethathirat Road, Sisaket Village, Chanthaboury District, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Telephone :               +856 21 250791
E-mail :           
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