The Monument to President Souphanouvong is statute of the First President of the post 1975 regime in Laos, who prior to the abolition of the Laotian monarchy was known as Prince Souphanouvong. Prince Souphanouvong was born in Luang Prabang and that is why his commemoration statue is in Luang Prabang rather than the capital city Vientiane.
The Monument to President Souphanouvong is open all day, every day, and admission to the park where the statue is located is free.
About President Souphanouvong
Prince Souphanouvong served from 1975 to 1991 as the first President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic was created on the 2nd December 1975 after the forces of the Communist Pathet Lao had seized control of nearly all of Laos including the capital Vientiane. The Pathet Lao Government abolished the monarchy and then installed Prince Souphanouvong as President, making him something of an enigma and very much the ‘black sheep’ of the Royal Family. The King and the Crown Prince were taken to a ‘Re-education Camp’ and never heard of again.
Prince Souphanouvong was one of the sons of Laos’s Vice-King or ‘uparaja’ of Luang Prabang. From the outset Prince Souphanouvong was considered a lesser member of the Lao Royal Family because his mother was a commoner, whilst his brothers had a mother from an aristocratic family. Perhaps for this reason Prince Souphanouvong left Laos in early adulthood to study and work in France, and thereafter lived 16 years in Vietnam before returning to Laos to overthrow the Royalist Government. During his time in Vietnam Prince Souphanouvong married a Vietnamese woman, met Ho Chi Minh, and became active in the Viet Minh who were communist insurgents fighting the French colonialists and later the Americans.
Prince Souphanouvong appears to have played an active part in organising the Vietnamese invasion of Laos in 1953 and 1958 and again in 1968, after which a Vietnamese military presence stayed in Laos until the end of the 1980s. Prince Souphanouvong is often dubbed the ‘Red Prince’ for actively organising a Vietnamese assisted Communist take over of Laos and is remembered, for better or for worse, as a key architect of the modern Laotian State.
Location of the Monument to President Souphanouvong
The Monument to President Souphanouvong is located near the UXO Lao Visitors Centre and 1.6 km to the north-east of Luang Prabang Southern Bus Terminal.