VIENTIANE (/vjɛnˈtjɑːn/ ; French pronunciation: ; Lao :
ວຽງຈັນ, Viang chan, IPA: ) is the capital and largest
Laos , on the banks of the
Mekong River near the border with
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 was the administrative capital
during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now
the economic center of Laos.
Vientiane is noted as the home of the most significant national
monument in Laos:
That Luang , which is the symbol of
Laos and an icon
of Buddhism in
Laos . Other significant Buddhist temples in
be found there as well, such as
Haw Phra Kaew
Haw Phra Kaew , which formerly housed
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 .
* 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
* 8.2 From
* 8.3 To
* 8.4 From
* 8.5 By air
* 9 Healthcare
* 10 Twin towns – Brother cities
* 11 See also
* 12 References
* 13 Further reading
* 14 External links
The name of the city is derived from Pali , the liturgical language
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
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 ) 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
Buddha sculptures at Pha
Haw Phra Kaew
Haw Phra Kaew or
Temple of the
Emerald Buddha Pha
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 . 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 temple, which
That Luang would later replace. In the 11th and 12th
centuries, the time when the Lao and
Thai people are believed to have
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 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 .
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 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 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.
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.
Laotian Civil War broke out between the Royal Lao Government
Pathet Lao ,
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 , and renamed the country the
Lao People's Democratic Republic, which ended the
Laotian Civil War .
The next day, an Insurgency in
Laos began in the jungle, with the
Pathet Lao fighting factions of Hmong and royalists.
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
CLIMATE CHART (EXPLANATION )
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
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
Vientiane is on a bend of the
Mekong River, at which point it forms
the border with
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
Vientiane lasts about seven months.
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
CLIMATE DATA FOR VIENTIANE
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE RAINFALL MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS
AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization, Deutscher
Wetterdienst (extremes 1907–1990)
Source #2: NOAA (sun and humidity)
Wat Si Muang
Wat Si Muang
Although still a small city, the capital experiences a major influx
of tourists. The city contains many temples and Buddhist monuments
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
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 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 , began construction in 1957 and
completed in 1968, is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city.
Arc de Triomphe in
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 Park was built in 1958 by
Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat and
contains a collection of Buddhist and
Hindu sculptures, scattered
amongst gardens and trees. The park was built about 28 kilometres
Vientiane at the edge of the
Mekong River .
Vientiane is home to one of the three bowling alleys in
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
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
The National University of
Laos , one of three universities in the
country, is in Vientiane.
* Lao National Radio has a large mediumwave transmitter with a
277-metre guyed mast at 18° 20' 33"N, 102° 27' 01"E
China Radio International (CRI) FM 93.0
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 .
There are regular bus services connecting
Bus Station with
the rest of the country. In Vientiane, regular bus services around the
city are provided by
Vientiane Capital State
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
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
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
Laos at a lower cost than would be possible with
Daily non-stop bus services run between
Vientiane and Nong Khai, Udon
Thani, and Khon Kaen.
In October 2010, plans were announced for a 530 km high-speed railway
Xishuangbanna , in
Yunnan Province in
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
began on 25 April 2011.
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.
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
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 is twinned with:
Phnom Penh ,
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City ,
Kingdom of Vientiane
* National Library of
* ^ 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 marks 450 years anniversary". Retrieved 18 July
* ^ "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 -
World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
* ^ "Klimatafel von
Vientiane (Viangchan) / Laos" (PDF). Baseline
climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in
German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
* ^ "
Vientiane Climate Normals 1961−1990" . National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
* ^ A B Lao National Tourism Administration - Tourist Sites in
Vientiane Capital Archived July 23, 2011, at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ A B "Wat Si Muang". Retrieved 18 July 2015.
* ^ "
Buddha Park -
Laos - Asia for Visitors". Retrieved
18 July 2015.
* ^ "
China Gives Southeast Asia\'s Poorest First Time Access to
Consumer Goods -
China Briefing News".
China Briefing News.
* ^ "National University of
Laos (NUOL)". National University of
Laos (NUOL). NUOL. Retrieved 2014-12-08.
* ^ "
China Radio International".
* ^ Work begins on major new
Vientiane shopping centre Lao Voices
Archived May 3, 2011, at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "
Laos stocks soar on debut – yes, both of them". Financial
* ^ "Timetables".
Vientiane Capital State
Bus Enterprise. VCSBE.
* ^ Matthias Gasnier (2012-08-13). "
Laos 2012 Update: Chinese
models keep spreading". bestsellingcarsblog.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
* ^ "Inaugural train begins
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 rethinks rail project".
TTR Weekly. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved
* ^ "New China-
Laos link". Railways Africa. Archived from the
original on January 31, 2014. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
* ^ "Boten
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
* ^ "Kunming-
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 Rescue. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
* Askew, Marc, William Stewart Logan, and Colin Long. Vientiane:
Transformations of a Lao Landscape. London: Routledge, 2007. ISBN
* Sharifi et al., Can master planning control and regulate urban
growth in Vientiane, Laos?. Landscape and Ur