In the town’s north, Vat Mahathat was originally built on 18 stone pillars in 1880. Stop at Vat Kang, before visiting Vat Sisoumang, built in 1944 by a local named Chanthao. In the town’s southernmost village, Ban Meuang Xong, you’ll find Vat Meuang Xong (Vat Mixay), built in 1889.
Vat Mahathat: Begin your Vang Vieng temple adventure at Vat Mahathat in the town’s north. Originally built in 1880 as Vat Siviengxong, the temple was moved to its present location shortly after. Here, it was renamed Vat Don Hor, before it was given today’s title of Vat Mahathat, or simply Vat That. Constructed with money donated by Lord Isan Outhaidesanasongkham, Vat That’s original plans called for a three-room temple with a small stupa inside. However, as construction got underway, a man named Duangsi suggested to Lord Isan that the temple’s 18 exterior pillars should be made of decorated rock. Though Vat Mahathat, with its brick floor and crocodile and dog statues at the stair’s base, suffered damage over the years, the temple, with its decorated entrance, was restored in the 1990s. Roof ornaments were added around the turn of the century.
Location: To reach Vat Mahathat (Vat That), go north on Vang Vieng’s Main Road. At the end of the old air strip, turn left onto the temple grounds.
Vat Kang: Visit a small, golden clad temple with a Buddha mural over the entrance that rises to the peak of a sloping roof. Inside Vat Kang, you’ll see the upper walls covered with pleasant paintings. A golden Buddha sits on a throne at one end. The temple was constructed in 1900 under the patronage of Xieng Tii, Phiaphommaline, Meuan Souvanh, Mr Phoma and Mr Chanphenxay. Today, Vat Kang houses four monks, 21 novices, and three nuns.
Location: Vat Kang is located in Savang Village on the Main Road. It is about 300 metres south of Vat Mahathat and across from the old air strip.
Vat Sisoumang: Vat Sisoumang was built in 1944 by a local named Chanthao. Upon his death, the temple was renamed Vat Thao Sao before it was changed to Vat Sisoumang. The temple is pleasantly decorated inside and out. The entrance presents a painted scene under the steep roof. Inside, brightly coloured designs cover the walls, and three golden Buddha sit and stand at one end. An adjacent pavilion is straddles by statues of two Ramayana characters.
Location: The temple is located in the centre of Vang Vieng in Ban Vieng Keo, just off the Main Road on the right at the southern end of the air strip.
Vat Meuang Xong: Vat Meuang Xong (Vat Mixay) sits in Van Vieng’s southernmost Ban Meuang Xong Village. The temple was built in 1889 by Ta Saeng Koum Mane, and was originally named Vat Khoua Phane. However, once the French colonialists left, the name was changed to its present Vat Meuang Xong.