Monday, April 15, 2013

Vientiane: The quietest capital in the world

The capital of a country is supposed to be real busy as it is generally the largest city in the country and is the political hot seat, which means more or less all important decisions are taken in that city. And because of these reasons, the capitals are generally the most crowded, most polluted and most populated part of the country, but when I arrived at Vientiane, the capital of Laos, I was in for pure shock.

The calm Phat That Luang in Vientiane, Laos
Vientiane, in spite of having all the perks of a capital city has a very easy and relaxed atmosphere, which is very much symbolic of Laos. There is no hassling for the tourist, there are hardly any crowds, the cars are less in number, everything is very quiet and relaxed that you hardly feel you are in the capital of a country.

Patuxay Victory Gate, An important landmark in Vientiane, Laos
The life is easy here for a tourist. Most of the places can be either covered by foot or on a bicycle. The traffic is so easy that there is hardly any trouble. Only the sun can get a bit harsh. But, for that, you either stay indoors in a restaurant or in one of the many wats (temples) near the river. During the evening as the weather cools down a bit, the life next to the market wakes up with the night markets and one can enjoy a sunset over the Mekong.

Hazy Sunset over the Mekong River at Vientiane, Laos
If you wish to enjoy the city in a relaxed way, which is the way it should be done, visit the morning market near the shopping mall for a flavor of locals Laos markets, see the Patuxay victory monument to find out what makes the people of Laos really proud and the very revered and calm Phra That Luang, the largest stupa in Laos.

Phat That Luang - One of Laos's main monuments at Vientiane, Laos
Then, there are many temples in and around town that can be visited at leisure. The French colonial buildings and the big buildings running the country of Laos. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will definitely not miss the easy pace of life here. And that is why Vientiane is the quietest capital in the world for me.

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