On our second day in Vientiane we set out to explore the highlights of this city. We started our explorations with a visit to the golden-domed Phra That Luang (Great Scared Buddha), a national symbol of Laos built in the 16th century. This was the start of the full moon celebration and there were lots of people, monks, food stalls, etc. The women had to put on sarongs to go into the Stupa area.
Next we walked up to the top of Patuxay Victory Gate Monument which was built by the French. It resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Their are about 6-8 floors and over 200 steps but the views were very good.
We visited the Haw Phra Kaew (house of the emerald Buddha) which contains some of the best Buddha sculptures in Laos. It also had some incredible carvings on old tree trunks. Nearby was Wat Sisket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane, dating back to 1818. There were a lot of monks also visiting these temples. It is so surprising to see monks with cell phones and cameras. Young men are expected to become a monk for at least a month or longer starting as early as 10 years of age. Some stay but most go in for the education.