The Great Stupa of Laos
The Great Sacred Stupa was my introduction to Laos.  
It's the definite highlight of Vientiane, the capital.  Built
by a Laotian King in the 16th century, the Great Stupa is
both a national symbol of Laos, and a religious symbol of
Laotian Buddhism.  The Great Stupa shines near sunset.
Here you can see a portion of the dark wall which
surrounds the Great Stupa, interfering with wide
angle photos.  Like all such stupas, it is geometrical.
Another glittering angle from inside the compound,
just before being kicked out at closing time.
Every young man in Laos is expected to spend some period
of time, which can be short, as a Buddhist monk.  So there
were more monks to photograph in Laos than anywhere else
on this trip.  Not what I expected, considering that Laos still
has a Communist government.  But unlike the situation in
Vietnam, the Laotian Communist regime appears to have
made peace with the Buddhists.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip by clicking
Ho Asked Me to Go