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LAOS
Vacations and Sightseeing

Basic information
Official languageLao
CapitalVientiane
Area236.800 kmĀ²
Population7,454,566  (2021)
Currencykip  (LAK)
Web.la
Code.LAO
Tel.+856

Vacations and Sightseeing

With its beautiful nature and cultural background, Laos has good tourist potential. However, they try to keep mass tourism out of Laos and focus mainly on group travel and tourists with an interest in nature and culture. At the end of the last century, the number of foreign tourists increased from 14,000 to 500,000. About 80% of all tourists still come from other Asian countries.

The capital Vientiane is home to the most important national monument in Laos, the That Luang (Great Stupa). This is an icon of Buddhism in Laos. A visit to Wat Sisaket is a must, it was built in 1818 and is one of the oldest temples in Vientiane. Other Buddhist holy places include Wat Ong Teu Mahavihan, famous for its 16th century bronze Buddha and Wat Si Muang, the city's guardian spirit. Hor Pha Keo, across from Wat Sisaket has a magnificent collection of Buddha statues. Spend a morning at the Lao National Museum, which has an interesting mix of exhibits. The main sights in Vientiane are just a short walk or bike ride from most hotels. Wat Xieng Khouan, better known as the Buddha Park is not to be missed: take a tuk-tuk to this unique park which contains both Buddhist and Hindu statues. You can visit the Talat Sao (morning market) where a wide range of colourful textiles including silk, wall hangings and other decorative items are for sale. Also keep your eyes open for traditional wood carvings, mulberry paper and a variety of baskets made from bamboo and rattan.

The Wat Phou Complex is located 500 km south of Vientiane on the east bank of the Mekong River in Champasack Province. Wat Phou is an outstanding example of early classical Khmer architecture, dating from the 7th to 12th centuries AD. The temple lies at the foot of the 1408 metres high Phou Khao. The temple complex measures 1,400 metres from east to west. It is built on six different levels or terraces, connected by stairs and a central walkway. Most of them are man-made, but the top floor is a natural terrace. The water from the spring was channelled so that it flows through the main shrine and over the central Shiva linga (the site of which is now occupied by a statue of the Buddha). From there, the sacred river flowed along the artificially terraced mountainside finally into the Mekong River. Remaining structures within the temple complex include a Nandin Hall, small pavilions, brick towers, steps and the main shrine, which was dedicated to Shiva.


Sources

Boon, H. / Laos : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen

Cummings, J. / Laos
Lonely Planet

Te gast in Laos & Cambodja
Informatie Verre Reizen

Waard, P. de / Laos
Elmar

Zickgraf, R. / Laos
Chelsea House Publishers

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated November 2023
Copyright: Team The World of Info