Hiroto Nishigaki / Marubeni ASEAN Pte. Ltd. Vientiane Liaison Office
* In this column, Marubeni Group staff provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.
Laos is one of the 10 ASEAN member nations and will assume the ASEAN Chairmanship this year. The country has an area of about 240,000 sq. km and a population of about 6.8 million. Laos shares borders with five other countries; Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and China, and its capital, Vientiane, has a population of about 700,000. The Mekong River, flows past Vientiane and separates the country from neighboring Thailand.
Restaurants in Vientiane are concentrated along the Mekong River, and both locals and visitors enjoy drinking and dining while viewing the expansive river.
Perhaps because it was once a French colony, it is possible to enjoy affordable French and Italian fare that utilizes local produce. Most of the Italian restaurants even have authentic pizza ovens. There are many other delicious choices as well, including the Lao coffee for which Marubeni has the largest handling share, and the juice of freshly-picked fruit. This is a great place to visit for a gourmet tour.
For sightseeing in Vientiane, there are the historic buildings and the elephants from which the city takes its name. At the Elephant Park, you can take a ride on an elephant or feed one. There is also the Buddha Park, which its many unique Buddha statues, that is worth a look. Locals will tell you that the statues with images of heaven, hell, and earth are placed in each area, and of course, elephants, too.
In the middle of the city is the 45 m “Golden Tower” Pha That Luang, which can be called the symbol of Vientiane. It is said to house the bones of Buddha. Many people from throughout the country attend the Pha That Luang festival in November.
There is also the Patuxai arch in the center of town that offers views overlooking the city. It is modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and is a memorial for veterans of war.
There are many other great places to visit and eat in Vientiane. The best thing to do is come experience them for yourself.
Marubeni Group communication site “MS+ (MS Plus)” (April 15, 2016)