Vientiane has a distinction. It is as small an international capital as you’re likely to find. In fact, it is one of the smallest, slowest-paced national capitals in the world. There’s not much to do, and little of historical significance, but still the city is worth a stop. There are remnants of French Colonial architecture, a bizarre triumphal arch, a few temples, a few markets, peaceful gardens, sunsets on the Mekong River, and decent restaurants along the water.
And that's really not all that bad, since Vientiane was almost completely destroyed by the Thais in 1828. Subsequently, however, the French restored or rebuilt many of the buildings during their colonial heyday, and elevated Vientiane to the status of administrative capital of Laos, which it remains today.
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