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That Luang Stupa
That Luang Stupa was built by King Setthathirat in 1566 on the site of a 13th century Khmer ruin. He named Vientiane the capital after Luang Prabang in the mid-sixteenth century. An elegantly crafted statue of him stands in front of the main entrance to That Luang.
Every November when the Boun That Luang Festival is held in Vientiane, a large crowd of followers and tourists come to town from all over Laos and neighbouring countries. The festival is considered the most important Buddhist celebration in Laos with many activities going on for three days and three nights. The main event is always held at That Luang and thousands of people come to pay respect to the stupa and to enjoy the colourful event that includes parades, live music and religious ceremonies
Patuxai (literally Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph), formerly the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument, is a monument in the center of Vientiane, Laos built in 1958/1962.
It is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. Although faintly resembling the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, it is typically Laotian, decorated with many kinnari figures - half woman, half bird.
Besides the elaborate Buddhist embellishment, it differs from the original in having four gates instead of two and being just a bit higher (to spite the French). Reasonably impressive from afar, a surprisingly frank English sign inside the monument labels it a "monster of concrete" when seen up close - and the concrete in question was donated by the US, although it was supposed to go towards a new airport instead. The monument itself aside, the palm tree-lined park around it complete with fountains is quite pleasant though lacking of shade during the day time, and you can climb up to the 7th story (stairs only) for a view of downtown Vientiane (06:00am / 06:00pm).
Wat Pra Keo
The temple was built in 1565 as a royal chapel and repository for the celebrated statue of the Emerald Buddha, which the Laotians had taken from Northern Thailand in 1551. The jasper statue remained in the temple until 1778, when the Thais invaded and recaptured the statue, taking it off to Bangkok (Wat Phra Kaeo). The temple was destroyed in 1828-1829 during the Thai sack of Vientiane; rebuilt in 1936; and restored again in 1993.
Ho Phra Keo was called "Wat Phra Keo" ("Temple of the Emerald Buddha") during the time that the statue was in residence there. It is now called "Ho Phra Keo" ("Altar of the Emerald Buddha") because only an altar is there, the image still remaining in Thailand.
Wat Sisaket was built in 1818 led by the Majesty King Anouvong, the last King of the Lan Xang Empire. The temple offers Buddhists and visitors a glimpse of lost history. It was the only temple in old Vientiane not destroyed by the Siamese army when it sacked the city in 1828. The temple, built in the reign of King Anouvong served as living quarters for the Siamese army while it was stationed in Vientiane.
The temple has a surrounding building that acts as a wall, housing thousands of Buddha statues. Over ten thousand Buddha statues are kept at Vat Sisaket and more than 6,800 small Buddha statues sit in pairs in the walls surrounding the Sim, the building housing the main Buddha statue. Another 2,052 Buddha statues are also housed in the Sim. Along the fences, there are 1,124 broken Buddha statues resulting from wars in the region.
Luang Pra Bang
Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important temples in the country of Laos. The word "wat" in Lao means temple, in this case, the Temple of the Golden City. Wat Xieng Thong is very old, built around 1560 by King Setthathirat, a patron of Buddhism, who ruled Laos from 1548 to 1571. The temple is located in a beautiful garden on the bank of the Mekong River where the Nam Khan, a smaller river runs into it.
During the 1960s Wat Xieng Thong was completely remodeled and redecorated, becoming the splendid temple we see today. The roof was repaired. The entrance was gilded. Both the interior and the exterior walls were covered with black, glossy lacquer and decorated with figures and symbols in gold leaf. On the back wall a large flame tree, a tree of life, was set in colored glass mosaics.
Dating back to 1513 and the reign of King Wisunarat (Visoun), Wat Wisunarat is Luang Prabang's oldest temple and was once home to the Prabang Buddhas. The history of the temple is colourful with it being originally crafted from wood before being burned by Black Haw riders in 1887
One of the temple's most unique features is its unusually shaped stupa designed by the wife of King Wisunarat to be a lotus flower but referred to by locals as 'the watermelon stupa'. Prior to invasion, Wat Wisunarat was once home to the revered Pha Bang Buddha from 1507 to 1715 which can now be viewed at the Royal Palace Museum.
Royal Palace Museum
The Royal Palace Museum was built in 1904, it features a blend of Lao traditional and French style. It was built for King Sisavang Vong and his family during the French colonial era.
After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the palace. After the revolution in 1975, the building was taken over by the government. The palace was then converted into a national museum and opened to the public in 1995. It houses a lot of interesting historical items. Every item tells a story...so you will learn quite a lot about Lao history and about Laos' royal.
Phu Si Hill
Dominating the old city centre, the abrupt 100m high hill of Phousi is crowned by a 20m gilded stupa called That Chomsi, which is sacred and highly revered.
Phousi Hill is ascendable on several paths. There are two major staircases climbing up on the northern side, one through Vat Siphoutthabath Thibpharam to a miniature shrine that protects a Buddha footprint, and the other through Vat Thammothagnaram by the Nam Khane River. Around Vat Tham (Cave Temple - shortened from Vat Thammothagnaram) lie a series of new gilded Buddha images nestled into rocky clefts and niches.
Ascending through the front staircase in front of the former Royal Palace, visitors need to climb 328 stairs winding under the Frangipani trees. Once reaching the top, climbers, though exhausted, will be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view of the whole town. This is the highest point in town, from which you can have a good view of the whole area. Sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular, with the panoramic view from the top. Viewed from a distance, especially when floodlit at night, the stupa is amazing and seems to float in the hazy air.
Wat Phu Champasak
Wat Phu (meaning 'mountain temple'), is situated on a hillside and offers stunning views over the surrounding land and Mekong River. Visitors who appreciate art and history will be amazed by the magnificent workmanship in this ruined Khmer temple complex in the form of temple pillars, barays, lintels, pediments, terrace, courtyard, walls, doorways, sanctuary, shrine, library and palaces.
There is also a natural spring that is believed by locals to emit holy water. Older than the great temple complex at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Wat Phu was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002.
at Phu is considered one of the oldest archaeological sites in Laos. One temple in the site was constructed around the 5th century but most buildings found in the complex are from the 11th to 13th centuries. Like other notable Khmer architecture in Southeast Asia, it was constructed using sandstone, laterite and bricks. Among many of the outstanding carvings there are the Indra, the Hindu god of war, storms, and rainfall, riding a three-headed elephant and Vishnu riding on a Garuda, an eagle
Wat Phu has been an active temple for Buddhist religious practice for quite some time because Buddhism replaced Hinduism in Laos in the mid 13th century. There is an altar at the front section of its sanctuary featuring four big Buddha images with more Buddha images around the ruins.
If you visit Wat Phu on the full moon of the third lunar month (usually in February), you will come across the temple's biggest annual festival with many impressive ceremonies and fun activities going on during the week-long period. These include monk-blessing ceremonies, elephant racing, buffalo and cock fighting as well as a trade fair. The event is never short of entertainment such as live music and traditional Lao dancing.
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Phuket 83130 Thailand
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Address in Laos
Xiang Nheun 132 Unit 16
That Dam Stupa Square
Chanthabouly, Vientiane, Laos