Patuxai is not only one of the more popular tourist attractions in Vientiane but it is also a great landmark of the capital city. Travelers of Vientiane can’t help but notice the remarkable monument found in the city center. Having a closer look is irresistible for most Vientiane travelers.
Patuxai is translated to the Victory Monument but is also known by several other names. The striking monument is also called the Old Monument, the Ancient Monument, and the Anusawali Kao. Reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, this Lao Gate of Triumph was built in 1962 with financial assistance from the Unites States. The cement that was supposed to be used to construct a new airport ended up being used by this monument. The monument has a good mixture of French and Lao architectural influences. There are also Buddhist details that adorn the monument and are visible from up close. It was originally built to commemorate the Lao soldiers who died during battle serving their country before the revolutionary wars.
In recent years, the monument grounds have turned into one of the most popular and visited parks in the capital city. On the northern part of the park, a small cottage lies that houses the World Peace Gong. The gong was an award to the country for being the best and peaceful country in the world. In the 22nd of November in 2008, the Peace Gong was officially presented to the Lao People Democratic Republic in a ceremony for the whole world to see. The rest of the park is adorned with flower gardens, a dancing fountain, plenty of benches and many snack stalls. The park is a popular relaxation spot for students, families, and monks living in the city.
The rooftop of the imposing structure is one of the best places to take city shots as it provides a broad view of the city and the Mekong River. Climbing up the structure is allowed from 8 to 4:30 in the afternoon during weekdays, and from 8 to 5 in the afternoon during weekends. An admission fee of USD 0.30 is charged per person. On the way up to the structure, you’ll see a bizarre bazaar that sells all kinds of random stuff such as cheap clothes and items that are sold at the most unlikely venue. This only adds to the unique charm of the Vientiane capital.
The monument is within walking distance of the Morning Market and many other hotels and guesthouses. Because Patuxai is such a remarkable monument for both the locals and tourists, it may be the easiest and most reliable place for striking up a warm conversation with the locals. Nothing can be more appealing than to talk to a local in front of their most remarkable landmark in order to grasp the true essence and authenticity of Vientiane culture.
The monument is certainly not hard to miss as it is found at the end of Lane Xang Avenue. Although the Laotian history is filled with many problematic controversies, the Patuxai surely stands as one thing the Lao people can be proud of.