Vientiane (/vjɛnˈtjɑːn/; French pronunciation: [vjɛ̃ˈtjan]; Lao: ວຽງຈັນ; Thai: เวียงจันทน์, Viang chan, IPA: [wíəŋ tɕàn]) is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion but was later looted then razed to the ground in 1827 by the Siamese (Thai). Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic center of Laos. The city had a population of 820,000 as at the 2015 Census.
Vientiane is noted as the home of the most significant national monument in Laos: That Luang, which is a known symbol of Laos and an icon of Buddhism in Laos. Other significant Buddhist temples in Laos can be found there as well, such as Haw Phra Kaew, which formerly housed the Emerald Buddha.
ວຽງຈັນ • ວຽງຈັນທນ໌
Clockwise from top: Temple at That Luang, Haw Phra Kaew, That Dam, That Luang Stupa, Mekong Riverside, Patuxai, Wat Si Saket
|Admin. division||Vientiane Prefecture|
|• Total||130 km2 (50 sq mi)|
|Elevation||174 m (570 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (ICT)|
The name of the city is derived from Pali, the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism. Although the original meaning of the name of the city is "city of sandalwood", as shown by ancient Lao inscriptions (written pictogrammatically, unlike modern Lao, which is written phonetically), in modern Lao the meaning of the name Vientiane is ambiguous.
Many, if not most, Lao people claim that the city's name means "city of the moon", while many also claim correctly that the city's name means "city of sandalwood" because the words for "moon" (ຈັນ or ຈັນທຣ໌ from chandra चन्द्र in Sanskrit) and "sandalwood" (ຈັນ or ຈັນທນ໌ from chandana चन्दन in Sanskrit) are written and pronounced identically as "chan" in modern Lao. Most academic and historic Lao sources claim that the city's name does in fact mean "city of sandalwood", reinforced by the city's Thai (เวียงจันทน์) and Khmer (វៀងចន្ទន៍) names both retain the etymological spelling, which indicates "city of sandalwood".
The Romanised spelling Vientiane is of French origin, and reflects the difficulty the French had in pronouncing the /tɕ/ sound in the Lao language. A common English-based spelling is "Viangchan", or occasionally "Wiangchan".
The great Laotian epic, the Phra Lak Phra Lam, claims that Prince Thattaradtha founded the city when he left the legendary Lao kingdom of Muong Inthapatha Maha Nakhone because he was denied the throne in favor of his younger brother. Thattaradtha founded a city called Maha Thani Si Phan Phao on the western banks of the Mekong River; this city was said to have later become today's Udon Thani, Thailand. One day, a seven-headed Naga told Thattaradtha to start a new city on the east bank of the river opposite Maha Thani Si Phan Phao. The prince called this city Chanthabuly Si Sattanakhanahud; which was said to be the predecessor of modern Vientiane.
Contrary to the Phra Lak Phra Lam, most historians believe Vientiane was an early Khmer settlement centered around a Hindu temple, which the Pha That Luang would later replace. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the time when the Lao and Thai people are believed to have entered Southeast Asia from Southern China, the few remaining Khmers in the area were either killed, removed, or assimilated into the Lao civilization, which would soon overtake the area.
In 1354, when Fa Ngum founded the kingdom of Lan Xang.:223 Viangchan became an important administrative city, even though it was not made the capital. King Setthathirath officially established it as the capital of Lan Xang in 1563, to avoid Burmese invasion. When Lan Xang fell apart in 1707, it became an independent Kingdom of Vientiane. In 1779, it was conquered by the Siamese general Phraya Chakri and made a vassal of Siam.
When King Anouvong raised an unsuccessful rebellion, it was obliterated by Siamese armies in 1827. The city was burned to the ground and was looted of nearly all Laotian artifacts, including Buddha statues and people. Viangchan was in great disrepair, depopulated and disappearing into the forest, when the French arrived. It eventually passed to French rule in 1893. It became the capital of the French protectorate of Laos in 1899. The French rebuilt the city and rebuilt or repaired Buddhist temples such as Pha That Luang, Haw Phra Kaew, and left many colonial buildings behind. During French rule, the Vietnamese were encouraged to migrate to Laos, which resulted in 53% of the population of Vientiane being Vietnamese in the year of 1943. As late as 1945, the French drew up an ambitious plan to move massive Vietnamese population to three key areas, i.e. the Vientiane Plain, Savannakhet region, Bolaven Plateau, which was only discarded by Japanese invasion of Indochina. If this plan had been implemented, according to Martin Stuart-Fox, the Lao might well have lost control over their own country.
During World War II, Viangchan fell with little resistance and was occupied by Japanese forces, under the command of Sako Masanori. On 9 March 1945 French paratroopers arrived, and reoccupied the city on 24 April 1945.
As the Laotian Civil War broke out between the Royal Lao Government and the Pathet Lao, Vientiane became unstable. In August 1960, Kong Le seized the capital and insisted that Souvanna Phouma become prime minister. In mid-December, Phoumi Nosavan then seized the capital, overthrew the Phouma Government, and installed Boun Oum as prime minister. In mid-1975, Pathet Lao troops moved towards the city and Americans began evacuating the capital. On 23 August 1975, a contingent of 50 Pathet Lao women symbolically liberated the city. On 2 December 1975, the communist party of the Pathet Lao took over Vientiane, defeated the Kingdom of Laos, and renamed the country the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which ended the Laotian Civil War. The next day, an Insurgency in Laos began in the jungle, with the Pathet Lao fighting factions of Hmong and royalists.
Vientiane was the host of the incident-free 2009 Southeast Asian Games. Eighteen competitions were dropped from the previous games held in Thailand, due to Laos' landlocked borders and the lack of adequate facilities in Vientiane.
Vientiane features a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw) with a distinct wet season and a dry season. Vientiane’s dry season spans from November through March. April marks the onset of the wet season which in Vientiane lasts about seven months. Vientiane tends to be hot and humid throughout the course of the year, though temperatures in the city tend to be somewhat cooler during the dry season than the wet season.
Although still a small city, the capital attracts many tourists. The city contains many temples and Buddhist monuments. A popular attraction for foreign visitors is Pha That Luang, an important national cultural monument of Laos and one of its best known stupas. It was originally built in 1566 by King Setthathirath, and was restored in 1953. The golden stupa is 45 metres tall and is believed to contain a relic of the Lord Buddha.
Another site that is also popular amongst tourists is Wat Si Muang. The temple was built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu shrine, the remains of which can be seen behind the ordination hall. It was built in 1563 and is believed to be guarded by the spirit of a local girl, Nang Si. Legend tells that Nang Si, who was pregnant at the time, leapt to her death as a sacrifice, just as the pillar was being lowered into the hole. In front of the temple stands a statue of King Sisavang Vong.
The memorial monument, Patuxai, built between 1957 and 1968, is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city. While the Arc de Triomphe in Paris inspired the architecture, the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including Kinnari, a mythical bird woman. Energetic visitors can climb to the top of the monument for a panoramic view of the city.
Buddha Park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat and contains a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, scattered amongst gardens and trees. The park is 28 kilometres south of Vientiane at the edge of the Mekong River.
Other sites include:
Vientiane is the driving force behind economic change in Laos. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid economic growth from foreign investment. In 2011, the stock exchange opened with two listed company stocks, with the cooperation of South Korea.
There are regular bus services connecting Vientiane Bus Station with the rest of the country. In Vientiane, regular bus services around the city are provided by Vientiane Capital State Bus Enterprise.
The First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, built in the 1990s, crosses the river 18 kilometres downstream of the city of Nong Khai in Thailand, and is the major crossing between the two countries. The official name of the bridge was changed in 2007 by the addition of "First", after the Second Friendship Bridge linking Mukdahan in Thailand with Savannakhet in Laos was opened early in 2007.
A metre gauge railway link over the bridge was formally inaugurated on 5 March 2009, ending at Thanaleng Railway Station, in Dongphosy village (Vientiane Prefecture), 20 km east of Vientiane. As of November 2010, Lao officials plan to convert the station into a rail cargo terminal for freight trains, allowing cargo to be transported from Bangkok into Laos at a lower cost than would be possible with road transport.
Daily non-stop bus services run between Vientiane and Nong Khai, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen.
In October 2010, plans were announced for a 530 km high-speed railway linking Vientiane to Xishuangbanna, in Yunnan Province in China. which was later modified to a high speed train from the border town of Boten to Vientiane, with total distance of 421.243 km, to be served by 21 stations, including 5 major stations, passing through 165 bridges (total length of 92.6 km) and 69 tunnels (total length of 186.9 km) Construction on this line, as part of the longer Kunming to Singapore Railway, began on 25 April 2011.
Vientiane is served by Wattay International Airport with international connections to other Asian countries. Lao Airlines has regular flights to several domestic destinations in the country (including several flights daily to Luang Prabang, plus a few flights weekly to other local destinations). In Thailand, Udon Thani International Airport, one of Wattay's main connections, is less than 90 km distant.
The "Centre Medical de l'Ambassade de France" is available to the foreign community in Laos. The Mahosot Hospital is an important local hospital in treating and researching diseases and is connected with the University of Oxford. In 2011 the Alliance Clinic opened near the airport, with a connection to Thai hospitals. The Setthathirat International Clinic has foreign doctors. A free, 24/7 ambulance service is provided by Vientiane Rescue, a volunteer-run rescue service established in 2010.
Vientiane is twinned with:
Statistics of Lao Premier League in the 2015 season. The league is composed of clubs starts on 28 February 2015. Hoang Anh Attapeu are the defending champions, having won their first league title in 2014.2016 Lao Premier League
The 2016 Lao League is the 27th season of the Lao League, the top Laotian professional league for association football clubs, since its establishment in 1990. The season began on 26 March 2016, and is scheduled to conclude in late 2016.Lao Toyota came into the season as defending champions of the 2015 season. Lao Army, National University of Laos, VSV United and Saythany City were promoted from the lower leagues.Districts of Laos
Laos is divided into 16 provinces (Lao: ແຂວງ, khoueng) and 1 prefecture (kampheng nakhon) plus capital city municipality (ນະຄອນຫລວງ, nakhon luang). Furthermore, 1 so-called special administrative zone (ເຂດພິເສດ, khet phiset) existed between 1994 and 2006, when it was re-merged into its surrounding provinces (i.e. Vientiane and Xiangkhoang). Each province is subdivided into districts (Lao: ເມືອງ, mueang) and then subdivided into villages (Lao: ບ້ານ, baan).French Protectorate of Laos
The French protectorate of Laos was a French protectorate forming part of the French Colonial Empire in Southeast Asia. It consisted of much of the territory of the former kingdom of Lan Xang and was part of French Indochina from 1893 until it was granted self-rule within the French Union in 1946. The Franco-Lao Treaty of 1953 establishing Laos as an independent member of the French Union. Under the Geneva Conference following France's withdrawal from Indochina after the First Indochina War, Laos was granted independence in 1954.Kingdom of Vientiane
Kingdom of Vientiane was formed in 1707 as a result of the split of the Kingdom of Lan Xang. The kingdom was a Burmese vassal from 1765 to 1778. It then became a Siamese vassal until 1828 when it was annexed by Siam.Lao Airlines
Lao Airlines State Enterprise is the national airline of Laos, headquartered in Vientiane. It operates domestic as well as international services to countries such as Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea. Its main operating base is Wattay International Airport in Vientiane. It is subordinate to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.Lao Premier League
The Lao Premier League (Lao: ລາວ ພຣີເມຍລີກ) is a football league representing the sport's highest level in Laos. The league is composed of 8 clubs following a reduction from 14 clubs (in 2016) for the 2017 season.Laos
Laos ( (listen), ; Lao: ລາວ, Lāo [láːw]), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ, translit. Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao; French: République démocratique populaire Lao), commonly referred to by its colloquial name of Muang Lao (Lao: ເມືອງລາວ, Muang Lao), is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and southwest.Present-day Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to the kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao (Kingdom of a Million Elephants Under the White Parasol), which existed for four centuries as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Due to Lan Xang's central geographical location in Southeast Asia, the kingdom became a popular hub for overland trade, becoming wealthy economically as well as culturally. After a period of internal conflict, Lan Xang broke off into three separate kingdoms—Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and Champasak. In 1893, it became a French protectorate, with the three territories uniting to form what is now known as the country of Laos. It briefly gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but was recolonised by France until it won autonomy in 1949. Laos became independent in 1953, with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. Shortly after independence, a long civil war began, which saw the communist resistance, supported by the Soviet Union, fight against, first, the monarchy and then a number of military dictatorships, supported by the United States. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power, seeing the end to the civil war. During the first years of Communist rule, Laos was dependent on military and economic aid supported by the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991.
In 2018, the country had the fourth highest GDP (PPP) per capita in Southeast Asia, after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. In the same year, the country ranked 139th on the Human Development Index (HDI), indicating medium development. Laos is a member of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit and La Francophonie. Laos applied for membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1997; on 2 February 2013, it was granted full membership. It is a one-party socialist republic espousing Marxism–Leninism governed by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
The capital and largest city is Vientiane. Other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse. The official language is Lao. Laos is a multi-ethnic country, with the politically and culturally dominant Lao people making up about 55 percent of the population, mostly in the lowlands. Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong and other indigenous hill tribes, accounting for 45 percent of the population, live in the foothills and mountains. Laos's strategies for development are based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbours, namely Thailand, China and Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a "land-linked" nation, shown by the construction of four new railways connecting Laos to its neighbours. Laos has been referred to as one of East Asia and Pacific's Fastest Growing Economies by the World Bank, with annual GDP growth averaging 7.8% for the past decade.Laos national football team results
This article details the fixtures and results of the Laos national football team.List of Laotian records in athletics
The following are the national records in athletics in Laos maintained by the Lao Amateur Athletic Federation (LAAF).Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Laos)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the government ministry which oversees the foreign relations of Laos. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs is H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith. The Ministry's main offices are located in Vientiane.National Assembly (Laos)
The National Assembly (Laotian: Sapha Heng Xat, French: Assemblée nationale) is the unicameral parliament of Laos. The National Assembly meets in Vientiane.
Laos is a one-party state, with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party as the sole legal party in the country. Most of the National Assembly's actions simply rubber stamp the party's decisions. Efforts have been made to increase the capacity of its members, aiming to strengthen their legislative, oversight, and representational capacities.New Laos National Stadium
The Lao National Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Vientiane, Laos, that was built in 2009. It is used mostly for football matches as well as athletics events and hosted the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2009 Southeast Asian Games.Nong Khai Province
Nong Khai (Thai: หนองคาย, pronounced [nɔ̌ːŋ kʰāːj]) is the northernmost of the northeastern (Isan) provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighbouring provinces are (from east clockwise) Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani, and Loei. To the north it borders Vientiane Province, Vientiane Prefecture, and Bolikhamxai of Laos.Provinces of Laos
Laos is divided into provinces (Lao ແຂວງ, pronounced [kʰwɛ̌ːŋ], khoeng, qwang or khoueng) and 1 prefecture (kampheng nakhon) plus the Vientiane Capital city municipality (ນະຄອນຫຼວງ, nakhon louang, or Na Kone Luang Vientiane). The special administrative zone (ເຂດພິເສດ, khet phiset), Xaisomboun, created in 1994, was dissolved on January 13, 2006. In 2013, parts of the former special administrative zone was reestablished as Xaisomboun Province.Thanaleng railway station
Thanaleng railway station, also known as Dongphosy Station (Ban Dong Phosy in Lao), is a railway station in Dongphosy village, Hadxayfong district, Vientiane Prefecture, Laos. It is located 20 km (12 mi) east of the Lao capital city of Vientiane and 4 km (2.5 mi) north of the border between Laos and Thailand along the Mekong River. The station opened on March 5, 2009, becoming part of the first international railway link serving Laos. Originally intended for use as a passenger station, Lao officials have stated their intention to convert it to a rail freight terminal to provide a low-cost alternative to road freight, the main mode of transport for goods entering Thailand. The station provides a connection between Vientiane and the capital cities of three other ASEAN nations (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore), and several major Southeast Asian ports.Vientiane Prefecture
Vientiane or Viengchan (also known as Vientiane Prefecture or Vientiane Municipality) (Lao: ນະຄອນຫຼວງວຽງຈັນ, Nakhônlouang ViangChan) is a prefecture of Laos, located in the north-west of the country. The national capital, Vientiane, is located in the prefecture. The prefecture was created in 1989, when it was split off from Vientiane Province.Located on a curve of the Mekong River, and bordering Thailand, the prefecture covers an area of 3,920 km2 (1,510 sq mi). Vientiane city was built in the 16th century under the reign of King Saysethathirath. The older part of the city has ancient temples, museums, monuments and parks.Protected areas in the prefecture include Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area, Phou Phanang National Protected Area and Houay Ngang Forest Reserve, a good area for bird and butterfly watching.Vientiane Province
Vientiane Province (Lao ແຂວງ ແຂວງວຽງຈັນ) is a province of Laos, located in the northwest of the country. As of 2015 the province had a total population of 419,090 people. Vientiane Province is a large province, covering an area of 15,927 square kilometres (6,149 sq mi) with 10 districts in mid north-western Laos. The province borders Luang Prabang Province to the north, Xiangkhouang Province to the northeast, Bolikhamxai Province to the east, Vientiane Prefecture and Thailand to the south, and Xaignabouli Province to the west. The principal towns are Vang Vieng and Muang Phôn-Hông. Several kilometres to the south of Vang Vieng is one of Laos's largest lakes, Nam Ngum. Much of this area, particularly the forests of the southern part, are under the Phou Khao Khouay National Bio-Diversity Conservation Area. The principal rivers flowing through the province are the Nam Song River, Nam Ngum River and the Nam Lik River.
In the mid-16th century, Vientiane under King Setthathirat's rule became prosperous. It became a major centre of Buddhist teachings and many wats were built.
In 1989, the province was split into two halves — the Vientiane Prefecture containing the city Vientiane itself, and the remaining province.
Since 2000, tourism in the region has rocketed, with many thousands visiting Vientiane and Vang Vieng every year. In recent years, new investment has gone into the suburbs of Vientiane.Wattay International Airport
Wattay International Airport (IATA: VTE, ICAO: VLVT) is one of the few international airports in Laos and the country's main international gateway, serving the capital Vientiane, located 3 km (2 mi) outside of the city centre. A larger domestic terminal was constructed in 2018 and connected to the international terminal. There is a Lao Air Force installation at one end of the airport.
The airport is in Sikhodtabong District in Vientiane.The head office of the Department of Civil Aviation is on the airport property. The head office of Lao Air is on the airport property. Lao Airlines is revising flying to Yangon. The largest airplane that is flown to Vientiane is the A330. This is flown by Thai Airways. The largest airplane that has ever visited this airport is the Boeing 747-400, carrying Park Geun-hye – then-president of South Korea – for the 2016 ASEAN summit.
|Climate data for Vientiane|
|Record high °C (°F)||35.6
|Average high °C (°F)||28.4
|Average low °C (°F)||16.4
|Record low °C (°F)||0.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||7.5
|Average rainy days||1||2||4||8||15||18||20||21||17||9||2||1||118|
|Average relative humidity (%)||70||68||66||69||78||82||82||84||83||78||72||70||75|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||254.4||214.3||216.8||226.3||207.1||152.9||148.6||137.1||137.7||247.7||234.3||257.5||2,434.7|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization, Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes 1907–1990)|
|Source #2: NOAA (sun and humidity)|
Districts of Central Laos
※ denotes provincial seat.
Capitals of Asia