Victory Gate (Patuxai)
Victory Gate © Tim Wang
Modelled to mirror the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Laos' Victory Gate is definitely a sight to behold. Indeed, Laotians decided to one-up their former colonial masters by building theirs slightly higher and with four gates instead of two. Patuxai also has a number of decorative Buddhist ornamentations. As a matter of fact, the Royal Laotian Government constructed the monument with American funds and cement that were intended to build an airport, earning it the nickname, 'vertical runway'. Seven flights of stairs or a lift lead to the top, which offers great views of downtown Vientiane. Visitors will find souvenir shops in between flights of steps, though they're quite expensive. The area is also home to the World Peace Gong (presented to Laos by Indonesia), and a musical fountain. Travellers won't struggle to find excellent photo opportunities.