We woke up, and went out to the front porch of our gorgeous hut for complementary breakfast! Sipping coffee, we decided what we wanted to do for the day. We decided to go on a self guided walking tour of Vientiane’s sights before attempting to meet up with a friend in the afternoon.
We set off, firstly to Wat Si Saket or Si Saket Temple about a 15 minute walk from our hotel (Wat means temple).
Our favourite feature of this temple was the many alcoves, each housing one or two tiny Buddha statues. We wrote out a couple postcards from Wat Si Saket to send to our parents before heading out to our next stop, the Patuxay. It probably took another 15 minutes to walk to this iconic landmark. Since I had been to Vientiane in 2011, half of the stair cases in the Patuxay had collapsed… making me very worried for its future. Five years isn’t really that much time, it was a shock to see how much Vientiane had changed. We paid the entrance fee, and climbed the many stairs to the top of the arch. I think it’s important to see the Patuxay, not only because it’s a monument to those who fought for freedom from France, but because the entrance fee might help to keep this iconic monument from crumbling any further.
From the Patuxay monument, we walked through Patuxay park and towards Pha That Luang, the iconic golden stupa and national monument of Laos. This segment of the walk took about 20 minutes, and it seemed we were the only tourists around. If you aren’t opposed to a bit of exercise, the walk is actually pretty nice and very straight forward. BRING SUNSCREEN!
Immediately beside Pha That Luang there is another walled off complex called ວັດທາດຫຼວງໃຕ້ Thatlaung Tai Temple. Inside these walls we found the giant reclining Buddha.
We explored the rest of the complex and came across something we didn’t expect at all….. the incredibly painted ceilings of Wat Thatlaung Tai itself. I feel like this complex is often overlooked and overshadowed by its flashy neighbour, Pha That Laung.
From here, we quickly walked back to our hotel in order to look up directions to find our friend’s house…. that was a whole other adventure!!