The building of the elegant Presidential Palace on Lane Xang Street was first started in 1973 by the then Royal Lao government on the grounds that used to house the royal residence. It was designed by local architect Khamphoung Phonekeo, but due to political change brought about by the takeover of the communist Pathet Lao in 1975, the building was not completed until much later. The Presidential Palace finally opened its doors in 1986 and even then only as a venue for government functions and ceremonies. The building is closed to the public.
The Presidential Palace is a well-known landmark for its imposing yet elegant beau arts-style architecture complete with tall colonnades and shaded balconies. The building is surrounded by well-manicured lawns and gardens and fenced off by tall walls and a wrought iron gate. The Presidential Palace is not to be confused with the official home of the Lao president, which is located in the Vientiane suburb of Ban Phonthan. This magnificent building is lit up in the evening and offers a great opportunity for night photography although a long lens may be needed.