I left one full day for sightseeing around Vientiane. With a couple of half days between trips to the embassy it was more than enough time. There is not a lot to see and do in Vientiane. I was pretty much all temple’d out after my time in Thailand so there was even less for me to do.
I spent the day walking through town on my way to the Patuxai monument. There are a few temples along the way, but I opt to give them a pass.
The Presidential Palace is at the end of the boulevard that leads to the monument. You can’t go in to have a look, but you can take a photo while dodging traffic in the middle of the street.
Patuxai – Victory Gate
I finally make it to the Patuxai, which means Victory Gate. It is meant to honor those who fought for independence from France. I’m sure it wasn’t accidental that it bears a resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
It is nicknamed the “Vertical Runway” because the Laotian government took the funds America had given to the country to build a new airport runway and built this monument instead.
For a small fee you can take the stairs to the top for great views. You can see the French influence in the large tree lined boulevard leading to the Presidential Palace.
I made the long walk back to the hotel, ready to call it a day.
My Thai visa now in hand, it was time to return to Bangkok to find an apartment and start my life as a temporary expat.