door detail of patuxai monument in vientiane lao

Vientiane: The Patuxai Monument

Patuxai Monument in Vientiane is one of the central points in the capital of Laos. Built in the 1950s to 1960s, it is meant to be reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. But if you look closely, you can see Lao influences – a unique building that you should definitely see in Vientiane!

For a few kips (really not much), you can walk up Patuxai Monument – all the way to the top.

Sightseeing in Vientiane: The Patuxai Monument

If you walk up, you can also stop on two floors. Souvenir vendors have set up their stalls there and you can get all sorts of knickknacks.

Buying souvenirs at Patuxai monument in Vientiane, Lao

One floor reminded me very much of old Russian department stores with high ceilings and their saleswomen behind glass counters. One of the few times in Laos where I felt reminded that I was actually in a communist country.

Shopping at Patuxai monument in Vientiane, Lao

At the top, you come to this romantic spiral staircase – isn’t it pretty? And those ornate window grilles first!

Laos is for me one of the most beautiful travel countries in Southeast Asia!
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View of Vientiane

Some of the busiest main roads in Vientiane lead to the traffic circle around Patuxai Monument. One of the most central transport hubs, in other words. And here is already noticeable: Vientiane is so very different from most Southeast Asian capitals: No traffic collapse, no constant honking – everything very quiet.

Door detail of Patuxai monument in Vientiane, Lao

Patuxai Monument: Best at sunset

It is most beautiful up here at sunset. No more crowds, and the setting sun bathes everything in a very special light. The architecture is really very unusual, everything is decorated in great detail.

How do I get there?

Patuxai Monument is located just outside the city center. From the old town (where most of the accommodations are located), it takes about 20 minutes by bike. Bikes can be rented everywhere in the old town. Or you can just take a tuktuk.

More about Laos:


Hey there! I created The Happy Jetlagger in 2015 to gather all those lovely places I got to know during my trips. I love to inspire others on their travels and to discover unique destinations! Working many years as a flight attendant, I finally found a way to share my travel experience. Hope you enjoy it!

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