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VIENTIANE (/vjɛnˈtjɑːn/ ; French pronunciation: ​ ; Lao : ວຽງຈັນ, Viang chan, IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Laos
Laos
, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand
Thailand
. Vientiane
Vientiane
became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion but was later looted then razed to the ground in 1827 by the Siamese (Thai). Vientiane
Vientiane
was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic center of Laos.

Vientiane
Vientiane
is noted as the home of the most significant national monument in Laos: That Luang , which is the symbol of Laos
Laos
and an icon of Buddhism in Laos
Laos
. Other significant Buddhist temples in Laos
Laos
can be found there as well, such as Haw Phra Kaew
Haw Phra Kaew
, which formerly housed the Emerald Buddha
Emerald Buddha
.

The estimated population of the city is 760,000 (2015). The city hosted the 25th Southeast Asian Games
Southeast Asian Games
in December 2009 celebrating the 50 years of Southeast Asian Games
Southeast Asian Games
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 History

* 3 Geography and climate

* 3.1 Geography * 3.2 Climate

* 4 Tourism * 5 Colleges and universities * 6 Broadcasting * 7 Economy

* 8 Transportation

* 8.1 Within Laos
Laos
* 8.2 From Thailand
Thailand
* 8.3 To Thailand
Thailand
* 8.4 From China
China
* 8.5 By air

* 9 Healthcare * 10 Twin towns – Brother cities * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 Further reading * 14 External links

ETYMOLOGY

The name of the city is derived from Pali , the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism . Although the original meaning of the name of the city is "city of sandalwood ", as shown by ancient Lao inscription which wrote according to etymology, unlike modern Lao which is written phonetically, in modern Lao , the meaning of the name Vientiane
Vientiane
is ambiguous.

Many, if not most, Lao people claim that the city's name means "city of the moon", while many also claim correctly that the city's name means "city of sandalwood" because the words for "moon" (ຈັນ or ຈັນທຣ໌ from chandra चन्द्र in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
) and "sandalwood" (ຈັນ or ຈັນທນ໌ from chandana चन्दन in Sanskrit) are written and pronounced identically as "chan" in modern Lao. Most academic and historic Lao sources claim that the city's name does in fact mean "city of sandalwood", reinforced by the city's Thai (เวียงจันทน์) and Khmer (វៀងចន្ទន៍) names both retain the etymological spelling, which indicates "city of sandalwood".

The romanised spelling "Vientiane" is of French origin, and reflects the difficulty the French had in pronouncing the /tɕ/ sound in the Lao language. A common English-based spelling is "Viangchan", or occasionally "Wiangchan".

HISTORY

Buddha
Buddha
sculptures at Pha That Luang Haw Phra Kaew
Haw Phra Kaew
or Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Emerald Buddha
Pha That Luang

The great Laotian epic, the Phra Lak Phra Lam , claims that Prince Thattaradtha founded the city when he left the legendary Lao kingdom of Muong Inthapatha Maha Nakhone because he was denied the throne in favor of his younger brother. Thattaradtha founded a city called Maha Thani Si Phan Phao on the western banks of the Mekong River ; this city was said to have later become today's Udon Thani , Thailand
Thailand
. One day, a seven-headed Naga told Thattaradtha to start a new city on the east bank of the river opposite Maha Thani Si Phan Phao. The prince called this city Chanthabuly Si Sattanakhanahud; which was said to be the predecessor of modern Vientiane.

Contrary to the Phra Lak Phra Lam, most historians believe Vientiane was an early Khmer settlement centered around a Hindu
Hindu
temple, which the Pha That Luang would later replace. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the time when the Lao and Thai people are believed to have entered Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
from Southern China , the few remaining Khmers in the area were either killed, removed, or assimilated into the Lao civilization, which would soon overtake the area.

In 1354, when Fa Ngum
Fa Ngum
founded the kingdom of Lan Xang . :223 Viangchan became an important administrative city, even though it was not made the capital. King Setthathirath officially established it as the capital of Lan Xang in 1563, to avoid Burmese invasion. When Lan Xang fell apart in 1707, it became an independent Kingdom of Vientiane . In 1779, it was conquered by the Siamese general Phraya Chakri and made a vassal of Siam .

When King Anouvong raised an unsuccessful rebellion, it was obliterated by Siamese armies in 1827. The city was burned to the ground and was looted of nearly all Laotian artifacts, including Buddha
Buddha
statues and people. Viangchan was in great disrepair, depopulated and disappearing into the forest, when the French arrived. It eventually passed to French rule in 1893. It became the capital of the French protectorate of Laos
Laos
in 1899. The French rebuilt the city and rebuilt or repaired Buddhist temples such as Pha That Luang , Haw Phra Kaew , and left many colonial buildings behind.

During World War II
World War II
, Viangchan fell with little resistance and was occupied by Japanese forces, under the command of Sako Masanori . On 9 March 1945 French paratroopers arrived, and reoccupied the city on 24 April 1945.

As the Laotian Civil War broke out between the Royal Lao Government and the Pathet Lao , Vientiane
Vientiane
became unstable. In August 1960, Kong Le seized the capital and insisted that Souvanna Phouma become prime minister. In mid-December, Phoumi Nosavan then seized the capital, overthrew the Phouma Government, and installed Boun Oum as prime minister. In mid-1975, Pathet Lao troops moved towards the city and Americans began evacuating the capital. On 23 August 1975, a contingent of 50 Pathet Lao women symbolically liberated the city. On 2 December 1975, the communist party of the Pathet Lao took over Vientiane, defeated the Kingdom of Laos
Laos
, and renamed the country the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which ended the Laotian Civil War . The next day, an Insurgency in Laos
Laos
began in the jungle, with the Pathet Lao fighting factions of Hmong and royalists.

Vientiane
Vientiane
was the host of the incident-free 2009 Southeast Asian Games . Eighteen competitions were dropped from the previous games held in Thailand, due to Laos' landlocked borders and the lack of adequate facilities in Vientiane.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

VIENTIANE

CLIMATE CHART (EXPLANATION )

J F M A M J J A S O N D

7.5 28 16 13 30 19 34 33 22 85 34 24 246 33 25 280 32 25 272 31 25 335 31 25 297 31 24 78 31 23 11 30 19 2.5 28 17

Average max. and min. temperatures in °C

Precipitation totals in mm

Source: WMO

IMPERIAL CONVERSION

J F M A M J J A S O N D

0.3 83 62 0.5 87 65 1.3 91 71 3.3 94 75 9.7 91 76 11 89 77 11 88 76 13 87 76 12 88 75 3.1 87 73 0.4 86 67 0.1 83 62

Average max. and min. temperatures in °F

Precipitation totals in inches

GEOGRAPHY

Vientiane
Vientiane
is on a bend of the Mekong River, at which point it forms the border with Thailand
Thailand
.

CLIMATE

Vientiane
Vientiane
features a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw) with a distinct wet season and a dry season . Vientiane’s dry season spans from November through March. April marks the onset of the wet season which in Vientiane
Vientiane
lasts about seven months. Vientiane
Vientiane
tends to be hot and humid throughout the course of the year, though temperatures in the city tend to be somewhat cooler during the dry season than the wet season.

CLIMATE DATA FOR VIENTIANE

MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR

RECORD HIGH °C (°F) 35.6 (96.1) 37.8 (100) 40.0 (104) 41.1 (106) 38.9 (102) 37.8 (100) 36.1 (97) 37.2 (99) 38.9 (102) 38.9 (102) 34.4 (93.9) 33.4 (92.1) 41.1 (106)

AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 28.4 (83.1) 30.3 (86.5) 33.0 (91.4) 34.3 (93.7) 33.0 (91.4) 31.9 (89.4) 31.3 (88.3) 30.8 (87.4) 30.9 (87.6) 30.8 (87.4) 29.8 (85.6) 28.1 (82.6) 31.1 (88)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 16.4 (61.5) 18.5 (65.3) 21.5 (70.7) 23.8 (74.8) 24.6 (76.3) 24.9 (76.8) 24.7 (76.5) 24.6 (76.3) 24.1 (75.4) 22.9 (73.2) 19.3 (66.7) 16.7 (62.1) 21.8 (71.2)

RECORD LOW °C (°F) 0.0 (32) 7.6 (45.7) 12.1 (53.8) 17.1 (62.8) 20.0 (68) 21.1 (70) 21.2 (70.2) 21.1 (70) 21.2 (70.2) 12.9 (55.2) 8.9 (48) 5.0 (41) 0.0 (32)

AVERAGE RAINFALL MM (INCHES) 7.5 (0.295) 13.0 (0.512) 33.7 (1.327) 84.9 (3.343) 245.8 (9.677) 279.8 (11.016) 272.3 (10.72) 334.6 (13.173) 297.3 (11.705) 78.0 (3.071) 11.1 (0.437) 2.5 (0.098) 1,660.5 (65.374)

AVERAGE RAINY DAYS 1 2 4 8 15 18 20 21 17 9 2 1 118

AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%) 70 68 66 69 78 82 82 84 83 78 72 70 75

MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS 254.4 214.3 216.8 226.3 207.1 152.9 148.6 137.1 137.7 247.7 234.3 257.5 2,434.7

Source #1: World Meteorological Organization, Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes 1907–1990)

Source #2: NOAA (sun and humidity)

TOURISM

Wat Si Muang
Wat Si Muang
Buddha
Buddha
Park

Although still a small city, the capital experiences a major influx of tourists. The city contains many temples and Buddhist monuments with Pha That Luang , a Buddhist stupa, one of the most famous in Laos. It is the most important national cultural monument and very popular amongst foreign tourists. The original was built in 1566 by King Setthathirath , and was restored in 1953. The golden stupa is 45 metres tall and is believed to contain a relic of the Lord Buddha.

Another site that is also popular amongst tourists is Wat Si Muang
Wat Si Muang
. The temple was built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu
Hindu
shrine, the remains of which can be seen behind the ordination hall. It was built in 1563 and is believed to be guarded by the spirit of a local girl called “Si". Legend says that Nang Si, who was pregnant at the time, leapt to her death as a sacrifice, just as the pillar was being lowered into the hole. In front of the temple stands a statue of King Sisavang Vong .

The memorial monument, Patuxai
Patuxai
, began construction in 1957 and completed in 1968, is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city. While the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Paris
inspired the architecture, the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including “Kinnari”, a mythical bird woman. Energetic visitors can climb to the top of the monument, which reveals an panoramic view of the city.

Buddha
Buddha
Park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat and contains a collection of Buddhist and Hindu
Hindu
sculptures, scattered amongst gardens and trees. The park was built about 28 kilometres south of Vientiane
Vientiane
at the edge of the Mekong River .

Vientiane
Vientiane
is home to one of the three bowling alleys in Laos
Laos
(the other two are in Luang Prabang and Pakse ). There are many upper-class hotels in Vientiane.

Other sites include:

* Haw Phra Kaew
Haw Phra Kaew
, former temple, now museum and small shops * Lao National Museum * Talat Sao Morning market * That Dam , large stupa * Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan , Buddhist monastery * Wat Si Saket , Buddhist wat * Wat Sok Pa Luang , Buddhist temple * Settha Palace Hotel , Established 1932 * The Sanjiang Market

Vientiane
Vientiane
from Patuxai
Patuxai
.

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

The National University of Laos
Laos
, one of three universities in the country, is in Vientiane.

BROADCASTING

* Lao National Radio has a large mediumwave transmitter with a 277-metre guyed mast at 18° 20' 33"N, 102° 27' 01"E * China
China
Radio International (CRI) FM 93.0

ECONOMY

Vientiane
Vientiane
is the driving force behind economic change in Laos. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid economic growth from foreign investment. In 2011, the stock exchange opened with two listed company stocks, with the cooperation of South Korea
South Korea
.

TRANSPORTATION

WITHIN LAOS

There are regular bus services connecting Vientiane
Vientiane
Bus
Bus
Station with the rest of the country. In Vientiane, regular bus services around the city are provided by Vientiane
Vientiane
Capital State Bus
Bus
Enterprise.

FROM THAILAND

Wattay International Airport Older taxis in Vientiane are being replaced by newer Chinese -made cars, like this Soueast Lioncel . Thanaleng Train Station

The First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge , built in the 1990s, crosses the river 18 kilometres downstream of the city of Nong Khai in Thailand, and is the major crossing between the two countries. The official name of the bridge was changed in 2007 by the addition of "First", after the Second Friendship Bridge linking Mukdahan
Mukdahan
in Thailand
Thailand
with Savannakhet in Laos
Laos
was opened early in 2007.

A metre gauge railway link over the bridge was formally inaugurated on 5 March 2009, ending at Thanaleng Railway Station , in Dongphosy village ( Vientiane Prefecture ), 20 km east of Vientiane. As of November 2010, Lao officials plan to convert the station into a rail cargo terminal for freight trains , allowing cargo to be transported from Bangkok
Bangkok
into Laos
Laos
at a lower cost than would be possible with road transport.

TO THAILAND

Daily non-stop bus services run between Vientiane
Vientiane
and Nong Khai, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen.

FROM CHINA

In October 2010, plans were announced for a 530 km high-speed railway linking Vientiane
Vientiane
to Xishuangbanna , in Yunnan
Yunnan
Province in China
China
. which was later modified to a high speed train from Boten to Vientiane with total distance of 421.243 km to be served by 21 stations including 5 major stations passing through 165 bridges (total length of 92.6 km) and 69 tunnels (total length of 186.9 km) Construction on this line—as part of the longer Kunming to Singapore
Singapore
Railway began on 25 April 2011.

BY AIR

Vientiane
Vientiane
is served by Wattay International Airport with international connections to other Asian countries. Lao Airlines has regular flights to several domestic destinations in the country (including several flights daily to Luang Prabang , plus a few flights weekly to other local destinations). In Thailand, Udon Thani International Airport , one of Wattay's main connections, is less than 90 km distant.

HEALTHCARE

The "Centre Medical de l'Ambassade de France" is available to the foreign community in Laos. The Mahosot Hospital is an important local hospital in treating and researching diseases and is connected with the University of Oxford . In 2011 the Alliance Clinic opened near the airport, with a connection to Thai hospitals. The Setthathirat International Clinic has foreign doctors. A free, 24/7 ambulance service is provided by Vientiane Rescue , a volunteer-run rescue service established in 2010.

TWIN TOWNS – BROTHER CITIES

Vientiane
Vientiane
is twinned with:

* Bangkok
Bangkok
, Thailand
Thailand
* Chittagong , Bangladesh
Bangladesh
* Phnom Penh , Cambodia
Cambodia
* Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
, Vietnam
Vietnam
* Cirebon
Cirebon
, Indonesia
Indonesia

SEE ALSO

* Laos
Laos
portal

* Kingdom of Vientiane * National Library of Laos
Laos
* Auguste Pavie

REFERENCES

* ^ Lonely Planet. "History of Vientiane Province - Lonely Planet Travel Information". Retrieved 18 July 2015. * ^ "Vientiane". Farlex Encyclopedia. Retrieved 25 Nov 2010. * ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1 . * ^ " Vientiane
Vientiane
marks 450 years anniversary". Retrieved 18 July 2015. * ^ "Far East and Australasia". Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved 25 Nov 2010. * ^ A B Far East and Australasia 2003 - Google Books * ^ "World Weather Information Service — Vientiane". World Meteorological Organisation . Retrieved 2010-10-31. * ^ "World Weather Information Service - Vientiane
Vientiane
(1951-2000)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved May 14, 2010. * ^ "Klimatafel von Vientiane
Vientiane
(Viangchan) / Laos" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved January 23, 2016. * ^ " Vientiane
Vientiane
Climate Normals 1961−1990" . National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 29, 2013. * ^ A B Lao National Tourism Administration - Tourist Sites in Vientiane
Vientiane
Capital Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine . * ^ A B "Wat Si Muang". Retrieved 18 July 2015. * ^ " Buddha
Buddha
Park - Vientiane
Vientiane
- Laos
Laos
- Asia for Visitors". Retrieved 18 July 2015. * ^ " China
China
Gives Southeast Asia\'s Poorest First Time Access to Consumer Goods - China
China
Briefing News". China
China
Briefing News. * ^ "National University of Laos
Laos
(NUOL)". National University of Laos
Laos
(NUOL). NUOL. Retrieved 2014-12-08. * ^ " China
China
Radio International". * ^ Work begins on major new Vientiane
Vientiane
shopping centre Lao Voices Archived May 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine . * ^ " Laos
Laos
stocks soar on debut – yes, both of them". Financial Times. * ^ "Timetables". Vientiane
Vientiane
Capital State Bus
Bus
Enterprise. VCSBE. Retrieved 2014-12-08. * ^ Matthias Gasnier (2012-08-13). " Laos
Laos
2012 Update: Chinese models keep spreading". bestsellingcarsblog.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10.

* ^ "Inaugural train begins Laos
Laos
royal visit". Railway Gazette International . 2009-03-05. * ^ Andrew Spooner (2009-02-27). "First train to Laos". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-03-13. * ^ Rapeepat Mantanarat (2010-11-09). " Laos
Laos
rethinks rail project". TTR Weekly. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-13. * ^ "New China- Laos
Laos
link". Railways Africa. Archived from the original on January 31, 2014. Retrieved 2010-12-07. * ^ "Boten Vientiane
Vientiane
Railway Link". Laos-Travel-Guide. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-18. * ^ "中国铁路考察团对中老铁路进行全线考察 China Railway Erju Group Corporation (中铁二局集团公司)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 8, 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-25. * ^ "Kunming- Singapore
Singapore
High-Speed Railway begins construction". People's Daily. 25 Apr 2011. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved 26 Apr 2011. * ^ "Route Map". Lao Airlines. Lao Airlines. Retrieved 2014-12-08. * ^ "About". Vientiane
Vientiane
Rescue. Retrieved 11 October 2016.

FURTHER READING

* Askew, Marc, William Stewart Logan, and Colin Long. Vientiane: Transformations of a Lao Landscape. London: Routledge, 2007. ISBN 978-0-415-33141-8 * Sharifi et al., Can master planning control and regulate urban growth in Vientiane, Laos?. Landscape and Ur