I finally get to visit Patuxay on November 10, 2008, the day before we visited Boun That Luang, my dad and I took the local bus from Paksan into Vientiane for a day, it was our first time being on a local bus by ourselves in Laos and it cost 25,000 kips ($2.95) per person, an almost 3 hours bus ride, then from Vientiane Bus terminal we took a local bus to TalatSao, which cost us 3,000 kips ($0.35) per person, and walked to Patuxay Monument. These photos below are from different dates, let just say that whenever I’m in Vientiane and I’m near Patuxay, I had to stop and take the photo, might be that I’m afraid that I wouldn’t have enough photos to bring back.
I think I’ve made a mistake by taking my camera out to take photo as soon as I got there, when I went to buy the ticket, Lao people called it Pbee, I made sure I said it correctly and not to get it confused with the Thai Language, and she told me 6,000 kips ($0.71) for 2 people. I looked at the Lao writing (good thing that I can read some Lao Language), and it said 2,000 kips ($0.24) for Khon Lao (Lao people), and in English 3,000 kips ($0.35) for foreigner, so I asked her, “You charged us for foreigner’s price, I thought Khon Lao are supposed to be 2,000 kips per person.” She looked at me, not a smile, then at my dad, who was smiling but didn’t say a word, and she asked us, “Khon Lao Bor?”, and I replied, “Yes, Khon Lao Pakse.” She looked skeptical, still no smile, and finally said “4,000 kips” ($0.47), I paid her, and my dad took the change and donated to the donation box near the entrance.
Many monuments represent abstract ideas of freedom and liberty, and stand proud to represent the city, and most became the place of tourist attraction. As for Laos, we have Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe. Patuxay Monument was formerly known as the Anousavary built in 1968, and it is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. The monument looks very much like the French Arc de Triomphe, but has a touch of Laotian Buddhist architectural style in term of the pointy tops that resemblance many designs that you would find in Buddhist Temples (Wat). It is also decorated with many kinnari figures, some half woman half bird.
Inside is a souvenir shop, I bought a gift of silver lucky pigs sitting in a Lao long boat for my second sister.
A narrow spiral staircase to go up to the top of Patuxay Monument.
According wikipedia, The Patuxay was built using American funds. America had given Laos money to build a new airport. But in turn, Laos used the money to build the monument. Sometimes the Patuxay is called the “Vertical runway”.
The place is a tourist attraction area; you can climb up to the top for a good view of Vientiane. I’m surprised to learn from a Thai magazine that it is also a place where local teenagers hang out, the ground is busy and crowded on weekends. I’ve not been there myself on the weekend, but I’m sure they don’t dress in Lao classic style, but more modern. It is a place where young people meet, might be a place where future Laotian movie stars and models are waiting to be discovered.
The view from the ground is also beautiful.
On December 3, 2008, we returned back to Laos and visited Patuxay again and this time they were cleaning the water fountain in front of the monument, and they would do this every 3 months.
The photo below is the Arc de Triomphe. It is a historical treasure in Paris, France. The arch honors those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, and today includes the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Patuxay Monument represents Laos’s independence from France, but ironically, it looks very much like the Arc de Triomphe, I’m wondering if it were intentionally designed that way.