Commercial, Residential and (Multi-)Religious Architecture in Vientiane

Café Restaurant, and tuk-tuks in the foreground, Thanon Setthathirat

Café Restaurant, and tuk-tuks in the foreground, Thanon Setthathirat

Despite being the smallest capital city in Southeast Asia, Vientiane is no less diverse ethnically and religiously.  Its commercial and religious architecture is consequently, one of the most interestingly diverse as well so far on the Grand Tour.

It’s almost like all the capital cities of Southeast Asia have also found their way into the streetscapes here.  We have echoes of Penang, Manila, Saigon, Surabaya, Bangkok, Hanoi, Singapore and of course, Phnom Penh, to which Vientiane is a not-so-distant cousin.

The streetscapes in this gallery are roughly concentrated in the square bounded by Thanon Samsenthai, Thanon Pang Kham, Thanon Fa Ngum (which is the Mekong waterfront) and Thanon Nokeo Kumman.  Here, one finds a proliferation, also, of cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques that have burst up in central Vientiane, and turned the city into somewhat of a paradise for bagpackers and bohemian types.

It is a sign that Vientiane has moved on up in the world, and is only likely to get better.

*  *  *  *  *

A colonial-era bungalow, now used as a bar, Thanon Pang Kham.

A colonial-era bungalow, now used as a bar, Thanon Pang Kham.

Vientiane’s Friday Mosque, serving the city’s small Muslim community, off Thanon Setthathirat.

Vientiane’s Friday Mosque, serving the city’s small Muslim community, off Thanon Setthathirat.

Foreign Press in Laos, Thanon Setthathirat.

Foreign Press in Laos, Thanon Setthathirat.

European restaurants around the Nam Phu Fountain.

European restaurants around the Nam Phu Fountain.

La Cave des Chateaux, at the Nam Phu Fountain.

La Cave des Chateaux, at the Nam Phu Fountain.

Scandinavian Bakery, by Nam Phu Fountain.

Scandinavian Bakery, by Nam Phu Fountain.

Saigon Tailleur, Thanon Pang Kham.

Saigon Tailleur, Thanon Pang Kham.

Chinese Shophouse, Thanon Pang Kham.

Chinese Shophouse, Thanon Pang Kham.

Art Deco shophouses, Thanon Samsenthai.

Art Deco shophouses, Thanon Samsenthai.

Phnom Penh style apartments, Thanon Samsenthai.

Phnom Penh style apartments, Thanon Samsenthai.

Juxtaposition of old and new, in a scene channeling Bangkok, Thanon Fa Ngum

Juxtaposition of old and new, in a scene channeling Bangkok, Thanon Fa Ngum

Aashifa Indian Restaurant, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Aashifa Indian Restaurant, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Brand new Chinese Temple, recalling similar ones in Georgetown, Penang. Thanon Fa Ngum.

Brand new Chinese Temple, recalling similar ones in Georgetown, Penang. Thanon Fa Ngum.

Traditional Lao wooden houses, very rare these days.  Thanon Nokeo Kumman.

Traditional Lao wooden houses, very rare these days. Thanon Nokeo Kumman.

Mixay Gallery and La Terrasse Resturant, Thanon Nokeo Kumman.

Mixay Gallery and La Terrasse Resturant, Thanon Nokeo Kumman.

Café Croissant d’Or, Thanon Nokeo Kumman.

Café Croissant d’Or, Thanon Nokeo Kumman.

Art Deco building housing a bank, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Art Deco building housing a bank, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Handicraft shops in traditional shophouses, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Handicraft shops in traditional shophouses, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Traditional Shophouse along Thanon Fa Ngum.

Traditional Shophouse along Thanon Fa Ngum.

1960s apartments, channeling Phnom Penh.

1960s apartments, channeling Phnom Penh.

Art Deco Apartment, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Art Deco Apartment, Thanon Fa Ngum.

Wat Inpeng.

Wat Inpeng.

Art Deco apartments, Thanon Khun Bu Lom

Art Deco apartments, Thanon Khun Bu Lom

Multi-colored shophouses, reminiscent of Ho Chi Minh City. Thanon Khun Bu Lom.

Multi-colored shophouses, reminiscent of Ho Chi Minh City. Thanon Khun Bu Lom.

Chinese style Shophouse, Thanon Khun Bu Lom.

Chinese style Shophouse, Thanon Khun Bu Lom.

Vietnamese temple, channeling Hanoi. Thanon Chao Anou.

Vietnamese temple, channeling Hanoi. Thanon Chao Anou.

Vietnamese Association. Thanon Chao Anou.

Vietnamese Association. Thanon Chao Anou.

Channelling the old town of Surabaya. Thanon Phanompenh.

Channelling the old town of Surabaya. Thanon Phanompenh.

Channelling Oud Soerabaja.  Thanon Phanompenh.

Channelling Oud Soerabaja. Thanon Phanompenh.

Evangelical Church, reminiscent of Indonesia. Thanon Phanompenh.

Evangelical Church, reminiscent of Indonesia. Thanon Phanompenh.

Lao Heritage Hotel, like a bungalow in Singapore.  Thanon Phanompenh.

Lao Heritage Hotel, like a bungalow in Singapore. Thanon Phanompenh.

PDF: Gallery VIIB – Commercial, Residential and (Multi-)Religious Architecture in Vientiane (5.1 MB)

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Landmarks & History, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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