With a modest population of less than a million people, the largest city and capital of Laos, Vientiane, is known for its slow-paced living and peaceful charm that contrast with the typical frenzy of Southeast Asian metropolitans. A strong French influence is ubiquitous in Vientiane, notably the Patuxai Victory Monument modeled after The Arc de Triomphe but with some traditional Laotian touch. The large number of ancient temples here are not to be missed; such as Wat Sisaket, which houses over 2,000 ceramic and silver Buddha images and Wat Ho Phra Keo, a former royal temple. Outside the city center you will be mesmerized by a most bizarre park, the Buddha Park, which consists of over 200 religious sculptures scattered throughout the area. The vibrancy of the city is concentrated along the Mekong bank where you can enjoy spectacular sunsets and partake in the Night Market for local specialties such as handicrafts, silk fabrics, snake whiskey, and jewelry.