Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park




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In its 1,000-year history, Vientiane has come under Khmer, Vietnamese, Thai, and French colonial influence. It was capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom in the 16th century and later a vassal of Ayutthaya. The Thais sacked Vientiane in 1828. In 1893 the French annexed Laos and made Vientiane its capital. Laos gained independence in 1953; in 1975 it became a Socialist Republic. A day trip from Nong Khai, today Vientiane shows a side of Southeast Asia that is fast disappearing.

Exploring Vientiane

Vientiane has been isolated from change for generations. However, it has now seen some radical changes thanks to cross border trade with Thailand, encouraged by the Friendship Bridge, and investment from China and Japan. Vientiane is shaking off its sleepy image, but so far it has also remained blissfully free from mass commercialism and uncontrolled development. Vientiane was one of three important French Indochinese cities; the others were Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon) and Phnom Penh. French colonial influence can still be felt in the city, with its broad, tree lined boulevards and shuttered villas


The Pha That Luang, which perches, somewhat out of the way, halfway up a hill on the northeastern outskirts of the city, is the most important national and Buddhist monument in Laos. According to legend a chedi was built here in the 3rd century BC to house a breastbone of the Lord Buddha. More tangible evidence suggests this was the site of a Khmer prasat. The present structure was built in 1566, when Vientiane became the capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom. It was

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