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Visit Patouxai in Vientiane, Laos’ Unique take on the Arc de Triomphe

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Patouxai, known as Anosavari in Lao (meaning victory monument) is an arch in Vientiane Laos.  It was built to commemorate those who have fought for the country’s independence.  Situated on Lane Xang Avenue, the monument bears some resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  Because of its unique design, it stands out as one of the city’s most distinguishable landmarks.

Patouxai has five towers that represents five Buddhist principles; thoughtful amiability, flexibility, honesty, honor and prosperity.  The monument has four gateways from each cardinal direction.  The four corners of each gateway are adorned with naga (a mythical serpent deity) statues.  Two concrete staircases wind up from inside the structure all the way to the top.  The structure’s offices and tourist kiosks are on the first floor while the second floor contains a museum with statues of the country’s heroes and heroines.

The next floor is an open space with four towers at each corner.  These towers have been decorated with electric lights which are turned on during holidays and other important festivals.  In addition, there is another central tower above this floor, which contains a staircase to the very top of the structure.  Here, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the capital city.  There are plans to install two elevators from the two diagonal corners of the monument, which is expected to be completed sometime in 2010, during Vientiane’s 450 year anniversary.

The ceiling underneath the arch contains beautiful murals of scenes depicting Hindu deities from the Ramayama epic story.  There are also food stalls at one of the legs as well as tables and chairs for visitors to relax and cool off.  There is also a musical fountain in front of Patouxai’s entrance, which is a popular feature amongst visitors especially during the afternoons.

Compared to other Southeast Asian capitals, Vientiane’s atmosphere makes it feel like a small town.  Visit this charming city and its attractions, including Patouxai with Exotissimo’s Laos in Depth tour.  This program explores the wonders of Laos from its friendly people and intriguing spiritual culture to its diverse landscapes and natural wonders, taking you to the main sites as well as the less visited areas.  See our Laos tours page for other interesting ideas in this fascinating country or contact us for any questions or tweaks to our tours.

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