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Why Patuxai is special ?
With its crenellated upper level topped with five ornate towers in the traditional Laos style, the Patuxai Victory Monument cuts a distinctive figure on the Vientiane skyline. It forms the centrepiece of Patuxai Park, and is dedicated to the Laos who were killed in the fight to gain independence from France, as well as from the nation’s earlier occupiers, Siam and Japan.
Situated at the end of one of the capital’s grand avenues, the large, square arch is reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. However, as a monument to Laos’ resilience and eventual independence, Patuxai was designed to pay homage to its national culture and traditions. Its exterior embellishments feature both Buddhist religious symbols such as lotus leaves and the stupa-shaped towers, and statues of animist kinnari (half-female and half-bird figures) and nagas (dragons).
Source: Source: http://www.visit-mekong.com/
What to explore at Patuxai?
The interior of the monument is also richly decorated with painted walls and ceilings depicting gods, goddesses and elephants. For a small fee, you can climb to the top to enjoy the panoramic view of the charming, old-fashioned city of Vientiane with its many trees, low-rise buildings and temples, and all the way across the Mekong River to Thailand.
Patuxai features four arches, facing North, South, East and West. The four corner towers and fifth central tower that crown the arch symbolise the five Buddhist principles of thoughtful amiability, flexibility, honesty, honour and prosperity.
The seven floors of the monument contain administrative offices as well as a gift shop, a museum and the upper viewing galleries.
Patuxai Park is a popular place to stroll around in the afternoons among the palm trees and lotus ponds. There is also a musical fountain that was donated by China.
The peace gong at the northern end of the park was presented to Laos by Indonesia in recognition of Laos being named the world’s most peaceful country.
Source: Source: http://www.visit-mekong.com/
How to get to Patuxai?
Patuxai is situated at the far end of Thanon Lane Xang in the government and diplomatic district. The monument sits on the large ‘island’ formed where the avenue splits into two, opposite the Ministry of Justice to the south and the Prime Minister’s office to the north.
Vientiane is such a small city that it is easy to get around on foot, by bicycle, or by tuk-tuk. To get to Patuxai, head north-east from the Presidential Palace near the river and follow Thanon Lane Xang for five blocks until you see the imposing sight of the Patuxai arch.
- “Nice place to hang around”
- “Asian Champ Elysee”
- “Smaller Paris Arc De Triomphe”
- “Climb inside and surprises await”
- “A must Visit Site”
Patuxai Thannon Lan Xang Vientiane Laos
Tips for you
There should be a chance to ride pass this Patuxai, a small version of Arc de triomphe in Paris.Just like many other attractions in Vientiane, the place is not well maintained. Walk inside, and it's worse than outside. Some decoration inside is interesting, and while you walk up/down, there're chances you can bargain for souvenirs. (though I recommended you to buy them from Night Market along the river instead)However, with the entrance fee of a fraction of dollar, climbing to the top and walk around in the morning or the evening would give you a goo and impressive view of Vientiane. Spend 30 mins to 1 hour here to take a short break from several temples you may enjoy around.
Although on the map it looked a bit of a distance from our hotel....the lovely Vientiane SP.....we decided to have a slow walk to Patuxai with the idea that we could swap from feet to tuk tuk if we got too tired.But the distance was fine and the walk half the fun, ducking into anywhere interesting on the way.The monument itself was quite interesting and the surrounding garden areas lovely.It was nice to sit in the shade and watch all the comings and goings and so quiet, especially considering that we were in the middle of a busy intersection.So, we enjoyed it and would recommend a visit but like most things in Vientiane it is the journey, the people you meet on the way, the unexpected little happenings that make this memorable.To me Vientiane is a place that slowly gets 'under your skin' if you give it the time it deserves.As a side note I highly recommend the Hobo map, we found ours in a bookshop, it made getting around Vientiane so easy and much less frustrating than the mud map from our hotel that we used on the first day!
If you visited Vientiane and miss out on this iconic `Arc of Triumph' you are said to have not visited Vientiane. This iconic monument is spectacularly visible from the moment you walk out into Lane Xang Avenue from the central bus station at Talat Sao market. It is in the opposite direction of the Presidential Palace. You just need to walk for about 20 mins and you are at the monument.Patuxai is a war monument constructed during the turbulent period between 1957 and 1968 when Laos was still a constitutional monarchy. It was built in memory of those Laotian soldiers who died during the Second World War and those who fought the independence war against the France in 1949. It resembled the Arc de Triomphe in Paris but it is typically Laotian in design and decorated with mythological creatures. The construction cost was derived from American funds and cement that were intended to build a new airport. It was originally named "Anousavali" (memory) by the monarchy regime but when the communists took over power in 1975, it renamed it as Patuxai in honor of their own victory.I wondered why did the Laotian monarchy constructed this monument in the same shape as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. One reason for the construction of the monument was to commemorate those who sacrifice their lives for the Independence war against the French colonialists. Yet the shape of the monument followed and copied the features of the great monument in Paris. It gives me an impression that Vientiane was another Paris or rather a colony of France. Ideally, I thought it should be constructed in such style that showcase Lao independent architectural creativity and uniqueness rather than having French colonial influence. Also, ironically the construction material and aids were funded by another `neo-colonialist' giant, the US `Imperialist' that was eager to stamp her foot in Laos to wipe out communism.There is no real independence or future when a nation continues to rely heavily on foreign economic aids, sponsorship and donations. I think It is imperative that each nation has to learn to be self-reliant, capitalize on the strength of her people, develop the country's capacity and diversification in order to create economic wealth and achieve full independence and not fall prey into another foreign power dominance and influence. I do not believe on `alms giving' from another foreign power. It always comes with some attached conditions that may sell off the nation full sovereignty and independence.The foregoing were just my aftermath thoughts of Patuxai. As an iconic structure, I still like its uniqueness in the laid back charm of Laos.
There should be a chance to ride pass this Patuxai, a small version of Arc de triomphe in Paris. Just like many other attractions in Vientiane, the place is not well maintained. Walk inside, and it's worse than outside. Some decoration inside is interesting, and while you walk up/down, there're chances you can bargain for souvenirs. (though I recommended you to buy them from Night Market along the river instead) However, with the entrance fee of a fraction of dollar, climbing to the top and walk around in the morning or the evening would give you a goo and impressive view of Vientiane. Spend 30 mins to 1 hour here to take a short break from several temples you may enjoy around.