Top 6 Temples in Luang Prabang

Man’s devotion to God is one of the strongest bonds in this universe. Travel to any region in Lao, you’ll see countless structures built over centuries that show man’s faith in the supreme power. To the north, The ancient Royal city Luang Prabang was recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site containing dozens of temples. Taking Luang Prabang Tours, you can have a great chance to explore the characteristics of Buddhism of “city of the Golden Buddha”. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. So we give our reader a list of 6 best temples in Luang Prabang that are worthwhile to discover. 

Wat Xieng Thong

Located in a beautiful garden on the bank of the Mekong River, Wat Xieng Thong temple is one of the most attractive sites of Luang Prabang which was built in 1560 by King Saysetthathirath. For hundreds of years, It is the place to hold the most important royal ceremonies in the country. Nowadays, the temple plays an important role in maintaining the value of religion and tradition of the royal city.

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Wat Xieng Thong Temple

Coming to this temple, you can feast your eye on the unique and ancient architecture which makes it stand apart from many temples over the world. Wat Xieng Thong has more than 20 structures which include chapels, churches, stupas and so on. But the most important building is Ordination Hall decorated with mosaic “ tree of life” which present the legend of construction of the temple. Golden wood was carved surrounding the hall which showed its brilliance and splendor. It is a nice contrast combination of golden wood and the mosaics in the blue base glass. 

The impressive architecture of the Ordination Hall is the roofs on three levels that descend almost to touch the ground. If you contemplate the temple in another perspective, you will see the roofs seem rising to the sun. Inside the ordination hall, there is a small altar where kings were crowned until 1975. 

Wat Phon Phao 

About 3km from Luang Prabang, Wat Phon Phao is a modern Buddhist temple situated on top of a small hill. It used to a home of famous Buddhist Ajahn Saisamut. 

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Wat Phon Phao Temple

Although the temple doesn't have a long history, Wat Phon Phao still wins points for being a visual spectacle that shines its golden light all day. The temple consists of an octagonal structure with ornate balconies and window frames. Inside Wat Phon Phao, you will find the beautiful paintings which show the artistic vision of heaven and hell.

Another thing that makes this temple worth visiting is the wonderful scenery surroundings, especially in the lush forest. You can go there to enjoy the shadow of the trees on a hot day or immerse yourself in a state of pure bliss under the golden light of sunset.

Wat Wisunalat

Dating back to the 15th century, Wat Wisunalat is the most ancient temple in Luang Prabang. It is home to a collection of gilded Buddha statue and ancient stones. After being destroyed in 1887 by military rebel group from Chinese, it was rebuilt in 1898 under the design of French architects. So, the architectural characteristics of the temple changed a bit and brought the colors of the European style. 

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That Mak Mo Stupa

One of the temple’s most unique features is That Mak Mo stupa was designed by the wife of King Wisunarat. That Mak Mo means "lotus flower" referred to by locals as ‘the watermelon stupa" because of the dome at the top that resembles a watermelon. The stupa is placed on top of a square platform. On each of its four corners is a lotus pedestal. Today, the temple is open for visitors with plenty of available information about its fascinating history.

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Wat Sop Sickharam

Set in the heart of Luang Prabang, Wat Sop Sickharam is a great place to enjoy impressive work of art in a tranquil atmosphere because it is the less-known site by visitors. The temple is not only a working synagogue and a school but also so a home of several monks.

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Wat Sop Sickharam Temple

Coming to this temple, you will see a lot of beautiful lanterns hanging at its entrance. There are a gold-plated statue of Buddha and other little images of old Buddha lay inside the temple. The walls are painted in gold, red and white and the exteriors of the temple are gilded with a multi-layer roof. In addition, you can enjoy some peaceful time in the quiet garden nearby.

Wat Mai

Because of its religious and aesthetic beauty, Wat Mai is one of the favorite spots for tourists to contemplate the ancient tradition of alms ceremony. Wat Mai means “new temple” which was built around 1780 by King Anurat of the Luang Prabang Kingdom. For many years, it served as Royal Temple and also as Pra Sangkharat official residence-the maximum dignitary of Lao Buddhism.

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Wat Mai Temple

The significant architecture of the temple is the five levels of roofs. They are supported by the columns covered with a black lacquer and gilded lotus leaves on top. The large size roofs were designed to protect the front facade which contains gilded bas-reliefs made in the 1960’s. The reliefs depict scenes from the Ramayana and the Jatakas to everyday life in Luang Prabang such as temples, animals, houses, festivities and dancing women. Other structures on the temple grounds include a slender stupa, two small stone chapels, a drum tower and a library where Buddhist scriptures are kept.

Wat Long Khoun

Setting close to the banks of the Mekong river, Wat Long is the most impressive Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang which is known as the Monastery of the Happy and so-called Monastery of the Willow Stream. Existing since the 18th century, the monastery had the strong connection to the Luang Prabang royal family.

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Wat Long Khoun Temple

Wat Long Khoun includes two sections. Inside the older section, there are Jataka murals which describe the various lives of Lord Buddha. These murals contain the local legends and stories as well as express Buddhist morals such as patience, kindness and the importance of giving. However, several murals were damaged by the revolution in the 1970s and adverse conditions of weather.

The new section is the front part of the temple which was extended in 1937 under the instruction of the King Sisavonvang. This section is redecorated with gilded columns and sophisticated wood sculptures. 

»© Copyright: Laos Travel Guide


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Brian Vu

Working for a travel company is a big chance for me to feel love with travel. Specially, leisure is not my style, riding motorbike to discover everywhere is really great for my trips. On each miles I reach, I get opportunity to learn more about the local culture, to see ... [View Details...]