The original Lao capital was established in 1353 at Luang Prabang, the heart of the Kingdom of a Million Elephants.
In 1560, The Capital was moved by King Setthathirat, who was concerned with the threat of a Burmese invasion.The new capital was built on a fertile plain and was named Vieng Chan, meaning "Walled City of the Moon" or perhaps "Walled City of Sandalwood". Both definitions can be explained by the fact that Vieng Chan was protected by ramparts which were probably constructed of wood. Built along the banks of the Mekong, the fortified city's main sources of revenue were agriculture and taxes on river-borne commerce. In the 17th century, the first European visitors appeared on the scene. They were granted an audience with King Souligna Vongsa (who reigned from 1637 until 1694) and described Vieng Chan as a "prosperous" city. When the French arrived at the end of the 19th century, they found the town in ruins and overgrown by jungle. "Vientiane" which is the French transliteration of the Lao name Vieng Chan, was partially rebuilt during the colonial period, with French style buildings and housed.
As they did in Phnom Penh, Hanoi and Saigon, the French also constructed wide tree-lined avenues. Today, the remaining colonial buildings are fairly well preserved.
The most attractive sites are the historic places, antiques, temples, rivers, mountains, cascades, waterfalls and caves.The nature is beautiful and green.
Vientiane Municipality is the capital of Laos. Even if it is a small city and has three main roads covering of the green trees which decorated on both sides of the roads. The golden house or the presidential office is the same design of the Champ Eleses of Paris. Some of the cultural sites for tourism Vientiane are:
Phra Keo Temple
This former monastery at one time the most important in Vientiane, has been transformed into a museum.Wat Phra Keo was erected in 1565 by King Setthathirat. At one time it contained a fabled image of the Buddha, This image can now be viewed in Bangkok. Wat Phra Keo was destroyed during the 1827 sacking of Vientiane and was rebuilt in the 1940s in the rococo style. There are a few interesting pieces of Buddhist sculpture remaining, especially those in the Khmer, Burmese and Lao styles.
Wat Sisaket built in 1818 by King Anouvong, is Vientiane's oldest edifice. Small niches carved within the cloister and the main sanctuary contain 6,840 images of the Buddha in bronze, silver, wood and clay, most of which date from the 16th to 19th centuries. The sanctuary's inner panels are depicting the jataka, stories of the previous lives of the Buddha.
That Luang Temple
Situated on the top of a hill three kilometers northeast of Vientiane, That Luang (That is Lao for Stupa) was built in 1566 by King Setthathirat, Supposedly erected on the site of and ancient 11th century Khmer temple, That Luang is according to a legend the resting place of a relic of the Buddha brought to Laos in the 3rd century by Buddhist missionaries from India. In 1641, a Dutch traveler described That Luang as "A Huge Pyramid with a top covered in gold leaf weighing a thousand pounds".
Now is called The Victory Gate. The lower part we can see the Lao artifacts. The form of this museum is alike the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. On the ceiling, the goddess artifacts made by Lao artist are very pleasant to see.
The most important shopping center is located opposite of the main post office which looks like department store for Laotian.
The old center of Lanexang Kingdom. The source of the civilization of Lao in the Mekong river basin. It is very civilized in pagodas representing the civilization of the Lanexang Kingdom in the 13th and 15th centuries.The houses and buildings are the colonial styles of French. This is why Luang Prabang is praised by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) to be the World Heritage City in 1995.
Xieng Thong Temple
Overlooking the Mekong, this temple which was formerly used for Royal Ceremonies, is the city's most striking.The principal access to the temple is via a large stairway that runs up from the river.
Constructed in 1560, the main sanctuary is amazing with its mosaics of colored mirrors, details in intricately carved wood and above all, its graceful rooftops sloping downwards to the ground. It is one of the best examples of the Luang Prabang architectural style.
This temple, dating to 1788 is famous for its five-tiered rooftop and its facade decorated with golden bas-reliefs which depict the legend of Phravet, one of the last incarnations of the Buddha. The construction of this temple took 70 years.
This temple, is very important for the history because is the seat of Prabang Buddha image. The Buddha image for the nation. At present Prabang Buddha image is invited to place infront of the old palace after the black warriors destroyed Luangprabang.Another attractive site is Thad Mamo look like half of watermelon it was destroyed many times by the black warriors to clear for the properties. It id seemed that the golden Buddha image and the silver wares could be found here in the restoration work in the year 1984 lunar calendar. These significant heritages from this can be seen in the old palace. In summary regarding to Wat Visoun from many times of restoration works, there are many art design of Thailu, Sip song Phanna, Thaiphuan, Muong Xieng Khouang and Lao Lanexang which are aried from other pagoda in Luang Prabang.
Tham Ting Cave
This cave, is 40 km north of the city. The amazing to that place made the tourists to go upstream by boat 2 hours.Within the cave there are many hands of rock. At every corner, the Buddha images are placed granted by the worshipers. These are the collected arts for many hundred years of the Buddhist people. At the present no on and guess how old the Buddha image year were. In front of the cave, the Nasm Ou river meets the Mekong river can be compares that the north gate very important of the strategy. In addition to these, Tham Ting has important rote in the old traditions where the king that arrived her in the Lao New Year day.
In front of Tham Ting, Pha Ene Mount is on the left bank of Nasm Ou river. It looks like the bald Rocky Mount on the top. Its shape is alike the coffin called Phouphalong and this mount is also representing the legend of the love story of Kounlou and Nang Oua.
Xieng Khouang is located 435 km north of Vientiane. Many interesting sites are opened. The most attractive site is the plain of jars.
The Plain of Jars
The jars are alike the biggest pots or bowls. Many hundred of different sizes of jars could be observed on the small hill. The biggest one is 3.25 m tall. There were existed here for 2,500 - 3,000 years ago.So far, no one can prove that when and who made or created them. It is made by nature, isn't it?Some said Thao Hung Thao Cheuang must make it when they made alcohol to celebrate their victory over the war. Some said it could be made to restore the bones in the ancient time. These imaginations above are remained as the touchy questions for today or the future. However it is very significant nature and very strange that can be raised to keep as the World Heritage.
Located at the confluence of the Xedone and the Mekong river, Pakse links trade and travel between Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam. Founded as an administrative outpost by the French in 1905, the town retains much of its colonial legacy and architecture.
Sometime referred to as "Little Angkor", Wat Phou is by far the most impressive Khmer ruin in Laos. It is important as an historic and cultural site and was acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on December 14, 2001 (The second World Heritage site in Laos)
Khon Phapheng Waterfall
East of Don Khon (The largest of the Mekong's Islands) is the "Jewel of Champasak" province. Further downstream, the Mekong cascades across a wide mouth of rock which slopes in curvilinear pattern is sometimes tinted by rainbow. It's the Lao Niagara, the widest waterfall of Asia, more than 20 kilometers width. A place where the Mekong River takes a drop before continuing its course into the South China Sea via Cambodia and Vietnam. It's also renowned as a fish basin.