Laos is a country on the Indochinese peninsula. Most of its big cities are located on or near river systems, notably the Mekong. These cities are the economic, cultural, historical, and the political backbone of the country with museums, large portions of the country’s population residing or working in the towns. Most of the people in these cities are of Vietnamese, Chinese, Lao, and Thai descent. Laos’ biggest cities are also important points of the historical heritage from the ancient times through the colonial era to the post-independence era.
Biggest Cities In Laos
Vientiane is the largest city with an area of 3,920km² and the most populous in Laos with a population of 562,244. The city is Laos’ capital and is located along the banks of the Mekong River. It was founded in 1563 and was prompted by fears of attacks from Burma. The town experiences a tropical wet and dry climate and attracts some tourists due to its cultural heritage. Among the tourist attractions within the city are the Buddha Park, Buddhist monuments including the Pha That Luang stupa and the Lao National Museum among others. The city has been central to economic growth and change in Laos due to foreign investment. Other functions served by the city include transport, communication, and education.
Savannakhet is the capital of Savannakhet Province with a population of 93,277 people and the second largest and second most populous city in Laos. Savannakhet is a growing economy with influence from the economy of the neighboring Thailand. The city experiences a wet and dry tropical climate with an average annual precipitation of 1500mm the city is an important cultural, historical, and religious town with Buddhist temples, monuments, Christian churches, and Chinese temples. The town currently serves other functions such as transport, religious, and tourist center.
Pakxe is the capital of Champasak District and the third most populous city in Laos with a population of 88,166 people. The city served as an administrative center in the Kingdom of Champasak after its establishment by the French rulers in 1905. The location of Pakxe at the River confluence of Mekong and Xe Don made an important commercial center as well as a cultural center. Today the town is home to the Champasak Provincial Museum. The museum is important to the history of the province due to its collection of both historical documents and artifacts. The city serves other functions such as health services, transport and communication, and tourism. Some of its tourist attractions include Wat Phu and Si Phan Don.
Thakhek has a population of 55,244 making it the fourth most populous in Laos. The city was established by the French on the Mekong River and serves as the capital of Khammouane province. The city has unique French architecture, limestone cliffs, a national park (Phu Hin Bun). These features attract many tourists coupled with the culture of the people and festivals conducted along the river courses. Other activities enjoyed by visitors within Thakhek include trekking and water activities such as swimming.
Tourism In Cities of Laos
Laos’ big cities including Muang Xai, Luang Prabang, Phansavan, Vang Vieng and Muang Pakxan are major tourist sites due to their cultural wealth, historical heritage as well as natural areas like national parks. Other attractions include the presence of religious monuments dating from previous centuries which attracts pilgrims to these cities.