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Lao, Dec 2011

Vientiane, Proud to be Lao. On my last trip, I had only been to the north of Lao. Many small villages and life along the river. Vientiane, the capitol, is a large city with lots of tourist facilities, and many foreigners. Nice, but nothing like the peace and tranquility of Luang Prabang and the surrounding area.
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This was cool, but if ya look, it's got parts from several years
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Phra That Luang, The Lao National Symbol. Doesn't look that big until you see the motorbikes in the lower right hand corner. Pha That Luang according to the Lao people was originally built as an Indic temple in the 3rd century. Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire are believed to have been sent by the Emperor Ashoka, including Bury Chan or Praya Chanthabury Pasithisak and five Arahata monks who brought a holy relic (believed to be the breast bone) of Lord Buddha to the stupa. It was rebuilt in the 13th century as a Khmer temple which fell into ruin.
In the mid-16th century, King Setthathirat relocated his capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and ordered construction of Pha That Luang in 1566. It was rebuilt about 4 km from the centre of Vientiane at the end of That Luang Road and named Pha That Luang. The bases have a length of 69 metres each and is 45 metres high, and is surrounded by 30 small Stupas. It is covered in several thousand pounds of gold leaf.
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Amazing murals, Temple on the grounds of Phra That Luang
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Patuxai, the Victory Monument
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Ceiling inside
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Funny story.....The monument was built using American funds. In the 1960s, cement originally intended to build an airfield during the Vietnam War was used to build the monument. The United States had given Lao money, and cement, to build a new airfield, however, the Lao government of the day used the money to build the monument instead. It is sometimes referred to as the "vertical runway"
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View from the top
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Guard shack in front of the UN Building in Vientiane. Looks upside down to me....large_9IMG_1723.jpg
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Downtown Vientiane
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Mekong Sunset Looking towards Thailand, from Lao
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The Lao temples are everywhere, and beautiful.
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Posted by ikombazana 20:58

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