Photo: Patuxay Monument in Vientiane, Laos

Patuxay Monument in Vientiane Laos

Patuxay Monument

It is a little odd to see what appears to be a replica the Parisian Arc de Triumph as the centerpiece of the Laotian capital Vientiane, but the history of this unusual monument is even stranger. Patuxai, meaning Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph in Lao, is a war monument that was constructed from concrete “diverted” from a CIA airports project, earning the memorial the affectionate nickname “The Vertical Runway”. Visiting the Patuxay Monument one of the top things to do in Vientiane.

The design for the arch was chosen to spite the Lao’s former colonizers, the French. As if trying to outdo the Parisian equivalent, where the Arc de Triomphe in Paris had two pillars, Patuxai was constructed with four. However, as evidenced by words on the plaque at the base of the monument, even the Laotians admit that “Monument Aux Morts” might not rival its French doppelganger.

“At the northeastern end of the LaneXang Ave. arises a huge structure resembling the Arc de Triomphe. It is the Patuxay or Victory Gate of Vientiane, build in 1962 (B.E. 2505), but never completed due to the country’s turbulent history. From a closer distance, it appears even less impressive, like a monster of concrete.

Nowadays this place is used as leisure ground for the people of Vientiane and the seventh floor on top of the building serves as excellent view point over the city.”


Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP DSLR
Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM
Exposure: 1/320 sec @ f/7.1
ISO: 100

History of Laos
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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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