COPE (Cooperative Orthotic & Prosthetic Enterprise) works with victims of unexploded ordnance (UXO) from American bombing during the Vietnam War, as well as other disabled people. The COPE Visitor Centre introduces the charity’s work and educates visitors about the war. Besides documentaries and an exhibition, there’s a gift shop and café.
There is no charge to enter the COPE Visitor Centre, although donations are encouraged and revenues from the gift shop and café go to support COPE’s good work. While it’s possible to visit with a guide or on a tour, guides are not required. The items in the permanent exhibition are clearly labeled and easy to follow, and many visitors will want to take the time to watch the fascinating documentaries in the screening room.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The COPE Visitor Centre is a must for anyone with an interest in the Vietnam War or in contemporary Lao life.
- Donating to COPE or buying from their café or gift shop can help change Laotian lives.
- Many families with children will find COPE an educational and informative day out.
- The COPE Visitor Centre has ramps for wheelchair access.
The COPE Visitor Centre is located in central Vientiane, a bit over a mile (2 kilometers) south of Patuxai (Victory Monument). If you’ve rented a bicycle, it’s easy to reach from the common downtown Vientiane attractions, but some might prefer to arrange a tour with a private driver/guide.
When to Get There
The COPE Visitor Centre is open morning to evening, seven days a week, and is rarely crowded. It closes on Lao public holidays, including Lao National Day and Lao New Year. As most of the exhibits are indoors, it’s a good attraction to save for a rainy day.UXO in Laos
The US Army dropped over 2 million tons (1,800,000 tonnes) of ordnance on Laos. More than 40 years after the last bomb dropped, unexploded munitions are still shattering lives, with millions of bomblets scattered around the countryside. More than 20,000 people have been killed or injured by UXO since the bombing ended in 1973.