Sarah and Denis Round the World travel blog

Pha That Luang (with some marginal monk action)

It means Great Sacred Relinquary or Great Stupa

It was constructed in it's current form in the mid-16th century

And said to enclose a piece of breastbone of the Buddha

One of the four arched prayer gates (haw wai)

The prayer gates lead up to the second level

There are a couple of Wats (Temples) around the complex

Including a new one being built

This was amazing to see in it's skeletal form

Sarah in front of the Wat to be

The Patuxai - built in the 1960s with US-purchased cement

That was supposed to have been used for construction of a new...

View from the top of the "vertical runway"

Sarah teaching english to Ahm and Moscow (real name)

Wat Si Saket is surrounded by a cloister

Riddled with small niches that contain over 2000 silver & ceramic Buddha...

And over 300 seated and standing Buddhas of various sizes and materials

Grounds of Wat Si Saket (planted with coconut, banana and mango trees)

Jumbo (bigger than a tuk-tuk) in front of the Presedential Palace

Another of the many Wats in Vientiane

This one is called Wat Mixai

We have no idea why it's called the Sandalwood City, even after spending 3 days here. Anyway, sounds nice and it was a great to rest after noisy/hectic Vietnam. It was the most relaxed capital city we have ever been to, more like a country town. Very little traffic, not much noise and the people are so chilled out. One day it rained quite heavily and if you would have wanted one, it was very hard to find a tuk-tuk or taxi - we think that they had just decided to stay in bed due to the rain.

We hired bikes for a day and cycled to Pha That Luang - Laos' national symbol and one of it's most sacred sites - via the Patuxai - a large arch like monument where we ended up giving english lessons to a couple of schoolkids for an hour. Another day we walked around the city centre and visited Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. We also spent a day doing nothing more than having a massage. Nice.

The food was also good, with more unusual roll-em-yourself spring rolls than Hue. Based on pork kebabs you put those in with lettuce, mint, corriandor, garlic, spring onion, cucumber, starfruit, fig, noodles, spicy sauce and lots of other herbs wrapped up in rice paper.

Oh yes and Beerlao is an excellent brew. We tested this out again and again. D solid, S not solid. We put this down to a change of climate. Vietnam: cold and wet, Laos: hot and humid. We head up to Vang Vieng tommorrow, by pick up truck. Should take 3 hours we hope.

Denis got camera-shy in Vientiane after one of the schoolkids thought he looked like Hagrid. He was then asked for JK Rowling's e-mail address and where Harry Potter lived. @$$@&

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