Day 117 – Ghost Town

Vientiane is the smallest capital city in the world (population around 250,000) and located along the banks of the mighty Mekong river which provides the border with Thailand.

We scheduled a couple of days here despite the mixed views on the need to visit it from some of the people we have spoken to.

Having visited the massively interesting COPE yesterday, today we set off to see what else the city has to offer…

…the answer is not much to be honest.

It is a Sunday, but even still the place feels like a ghost town rather than a capital city.  Streets are quiet, the cafés and restaurants (which continue the French influence we saw in Luang Prabang) are sparsely populated, and it is not easy to find much to do even with the help of the guidebook (and less if you have had your fill of temples).

Our favourite bit of the day was visiting Patuxai, a large victory gate that resembles the Arc de Triomphe if you squint a bit, built in 1963 from cement donated by the Americans.  The US gave it to enable an airport to be built, and we like the fact that Laos thought “stuff you” and built a pointless arch in the middle of a roundabout.

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