The Highlights of Patuxai
Patuxai is a mixture of two words: Patu meaning gateway and Xai meaning victory. Therefore, Patuxai translates to Victory Gate. It was constructed in the year of 1957 to honor Laotians who fought against France for independence and perished during World War II. Though inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Patuxai was designed to pay homage to the national culture and traditions. The decoration and upper part is still typical Lao form. The prime examples are Lao Buddhist religious symbols such as lotus leaves and the stupa-shaped towers, mythological creatures, ornamentations at the arches’ ceilings and drawings of the Hindu Gods Brahma and Vishnu.
Patuxai in Vientiane
The arch's ceiling at Patuxai
7 floors of the monument includes a museum, a souvenir shop, the upper viewing galleries and government offices. What make the ground floor outstanding are the paintings of the vault. These paintings contain motifs and symbols of the Laotian Buddhism and Hindu influences. Their locations are 4 arches facing North, South, East and West. The East and West gates usually open during ceremonial national parades. In front of each gate, there is a pond indicating respect of Lao people to the brave warriors of the nation. Moreover, the four corners of the gateways are decorated with Naga, a Lao mythical symbol. At this floor, you will see kiosks selling artefacts, souvenirs and refreshments. A display of statues and pictures of Lao heroes can be found in the museum at the second floor.
Picture at Patuxai
Statues at Patuxai
Formerly, to move up to the top of Patuxai, visitors have to climb the stairs, but now the lift can also be used. On the highest part of the structure, there are 5 Lao style towers including the four corner towers and the larger central one. They represent for the five Buddhist principles of thoughtful amiability, flexibility, honesty, honor and prosperity. All of them are adorned with flower motifs and electric lights switched during the national important festivals. The central tower is more complex with a golden finial at the top and a spiral stairway leading to the observation deck. Here, travellers will have magnificient views of the charming city of Vientiane and Mekong river.
Statue at the top of Patuxai
View from the top of Patuxai
Another striking area is the outdoor garden where is composed of palm trees and ponds of lotus flowers. The huge fountain at the centre is attractive with lights and sound, especially at night. For the locals, the garden of Patuxai is a popular place to walk around in the afternoon.
The garden at Patuxai
Opening Hours: From Monday to Friday: 08:00 - 16:30, Saturday and Sunday: 08:00 - 17:00
Ticket Price: The garden and gound floor: free, the top of Patuxai: 3,000 Kips/person
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