Sunday, 22 December 2013

Panoramas from VIENTIANE, LAOS

The promenade along the Mekong River.
Just across the river is Thailand.

For our December 2013 vacation, we decided to travel to the last Southeast Asian nation we had yet to visit - LAOS, or Lao P.D.R. as it is officially known. OK, there's still Timor Leste to go, but unless they sprout an international music festival or piano competition in Dili, there is little reason to dally.

Encouraged by my pianophile friends, the Kols who reside in Vientiane, this was one trip that had much to recommend. Vientiane, the Laotian capital, is a little city that is still unspoilt by the hustle and bustle that has made Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh or Pnom Penh a bit of a nightmare. It is still possible to walk through its city centre and visit the sights without risk being hit by a motorbike or tuk tuk here. Sleepy might be a word to describe it, but there's still much that is picturesque and atmospheric in Vientiane. Here are some of the better photos. 

The Ho Prakeo, temple that once housed the
Emerald Buddha (abducted by the Thais and now placed in
Bangkok's Wat Prakeo in the Royal Palace).
When will the Thais return it? 

The Ho Prakeo is now a museum of Buddhist relics.

The cloister of Wat Sisaket,
Vientiane's oldest and only temple left intact after the wars.

A view of Pha That Luang, Laos' holiest shrine,
from the southern temple that houses a reclining Buddha.

Pha That Luang from the main entrance.

Pha That Luang up close.

Another view of PTL.

Right in the heart of Vientiane is the
Nam Phou Fountain, now surrounded by classy restaurants.

A room in the National Museum of Laos.

The Mekong River at sundown.

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