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Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, is a sleepy town defined by an eclectic architectural mix of Buddhist temples, stately French buildings, Chinese shop houses and dusty streets. Its relaxed atmosphere is conducive to exploring the city by foot or bicycle. Sights to see include: Wat Phra Keo, Wat Simoung and Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe, the Anousavari Monument.
Luang Prabang, the former royal capital and cultural center, is a World Heritage Site. This picturesque small town, located on the banks of the Mekong River and foothills of Mount Phousi, is endowed with stunning pastoral landscapes, ancient golden temples, and numerous monasteries. There is little traffic on the streets of Luang Prabang and monks in orange robes scurry in all directions carrying umbrellas to shade them from the sun. The Royal Palace, now the National Museum, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Sen, Wat Visun and Mount Phousi with panoramic views over the city should not be missed. A short boat ride from Luang Prabang on the Mekong River leads you to Pak Ou Caves, famous for their thousands of Buddha images.
Phonesavanh, gateway to another of the mysteries of Laos, the Plain of Jars southeast of Luang Prabang where 300 enormous ancient stone jars litter the landscape. Archeologists cannot fully explain the origins of these mysterious earthenware jars that are up to 8 feet tall and weigh up to 6 tons.
Pakse, capital city of Champassak Province, is the second largest city in Laos and the gateway for excursions into southern Laos including: the Boloven Plateau, home to a variety of ethnic hill tribes; Wat Phou, a former Khmer capital known for its temple built by King Jayavarman II, the same king who constructed Angkor Wat; and the Khong Islands which comprise as many as 4,000 islands visible during the dry season.

   © From 1998 Global Spectrum, Inc. - Travel Specialists to Viet Nam and Beyond
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