October 15, 2014

Teacher Trip: Vientiane, Laos - Day 2

That Luang, or The Great Stupa, is the most sacred monument in the whole of Laos, and certainly one of the country’s most beautiful. Dating back to the 16th century, this giant golden temple complex looks more like a fortress than a place of worship with its set of turrets surrounding a central stupa standing 148 feet tall.

You just have to get a group picture!

Those wanting to discover more about the history and culture of Laos should look no further than The National Museum. The old colonial French building in which the museum is housed has a good range of exhibits, artefacts and photographs ranging from prehistoric times up to the present day.

The impressive Patuxai Victory Monument is one of the most distinctive landmarks amongst the modest Vientiane skyline. The massive concrete arch – reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris - is intricately designed with images of Hindu Gods and is topped off with five towers all in the traditional Laotian style.

The famous Wat Ho Phra Keo is a stunning Buddhist temple near the centre of Vientiane that dates back to 1565. The striking appearance, however, is not the only reason for its well-documented fame throughout this part of Asia. Wat Ho Phra Keo once housed the Emerald Buddha after it was snatched from northern Thailand (then Siam) by the Laotian king. The sacred jade statue was then reclaimed by the Thai army in 1778 and now resides in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, Thailand.

Wat Si Muang is one of Vientiane’s most popular sites of worship. Alongside its interesting Laos-Buddhist architecture, it provides a fascinating story that still holds great significance with the Laotian community today. According to local legend, the temple is named after a young woman, Si Muang, who sacrificed herself at the construction site of the main building over 400 years ago in order to appease angry spirits.

Getting a blessing string from a monk.

Let's all take a picture with Jim. ha ha ha

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No rest on the way home with the karaoke going