Northern Laos Buddhist Temples & Shrines
Bokeo: Ponder the massive headless Buddha and an ancient 7-metre-tall Buddha image, and march up a hill east of town to Vat Phakham. Examine a 1,000-year-old temple on a Houay Xay hilltop overlooking the Mekong. Originally built in 1022, the small “Vat Phakham” has been restored several times over the centuries. The temple’s grounds also present a row of eight golden Buddha images, each in a different...Read more.
Houaphanh: Take a walk to the centre of Xam Neua Town to inspect a pair of ancient stupas that withstood US bombings. Further along the main road, Vat Phoxaysanalam houses a Buddha statue dating to 1565. Visit Xam Neua’s most sacred temple. Vat Phoxaysanalam houses a Buddha statue dating from 1565 and weighs 3,850 kg. Stupas and monk’s houses (kuti) also sit on the grounds. Examine a pair of ...Read more.
Luang Namtha: Investigate ancient, significant Buddhist sites that are easy to reach. Inspect a pair of Tai Yuan Buddhist temples in “Old Luang Namtha”. Head to hilltop That Phoum Pouk Stupa built in 1628 to demarcate the Lane Xang and Lanna Kingdoms. Visit hilltop That Xieng Teung stupa, which is said to contain Buddha’s Adam’s apple. Take a tour of Luang Namtha Town, and see a handful of prominent Buddhist...Read more.
Luang Prabang: Witness the role Buddhism plays at the temples and shrines of the Lane Xang Kingdom’s first capital. Examine Vat Xieng Thong’s elaborate décor under a long sweeping roof. Move on to inspect Luang Prabang’s oldest operating temple, Vat Visounnarath, built in the early 16th century. Climb to the top of Mount Phousi to Vat Tham Phousi and Vat Chomsi. Admire Luang Prabang’s most notable...Read more.
Oudomxay: Explore an intriguing array of Buddhist sites in and around Muang Xay. The town’s notable religious site, Phou That Stupa, sits on a hilltop in the centre of town. Nearby on Phouxay Hill, Cheng Temple is home to a “Tree of Life”. While on the road to Nam Kat Waterfall, examine three sacred Buddha footprints on Paradise Mountain. Join Muang Xay’s most sacred religious site on a hilltop, and catch the best...Read more.
Phongsaly: Visit the 500-year-old Vat Ou-Tai in Ban Or Village, originally constructed by Praya Chakkawattiraja. The Tai Lue temple’s Hor Thane Keo, which stores Buddha images, is made of mud and still displays its original décor. Vat Ou-Tai’s foundation uses stone-based wooden columns with carvings and decorations of daggers, swords, flowers and flags. A brick shrine stands outside the temple that the local ethnic...Read more.
Sayabouly: The “Land of Elephants” hosts some of the country’s most sacred, ancient…and fabled religious sites. Head to a Hongsa hilltop to see That Lak Mueang Stupa, built in 1572. Next door in Ngeun Town, ponder the wood-pillared Vat Si Boun Yeun. Travel to Ban Don Keo and the Golden Flea Stupa. Visit the 14-metre-tall That Puak in Khop Town. Ponder the 700-year-old, 27-metre-tall Xienglom Stupa. In Sayabouly...Read more.
Xieng Khouang: Explore Khoun Town, once the Lane Xang Kingdom’s centre for Buddhist art and craftsmanship. Walk an easy trail to Vat Phiawat’s distinguished sitting Buddha that survived Indochinese War bombings. Built in 1576, That Foun is said to cover Buddha’s ashes brought from India. Nong Tang Lake opens the door to the Tham Pha (Buddha Cave) underground maze. According to the “Muang Phuan Chronicles”...Read more.
Central Laos Buddhist Temples & Shrines
Bolikhamxay: Visit some of Laos’ most remarkable Buddhist sites just a couple of hours from Vientiane. Vat Phabath houses a huge footprint of Lord Buddha. Across the road sits Vat Phonsane, believed to be a sacred site where Buddha once took his meals. About 5 km from Pakxan Town, Vat Don Soung presents a series of colourful religious buildings. Vat Dan Soung’s compound is spread over a massive rock floor...Read more.
Khammouane: Take in Thakaek’s 6th-century, 29-metre-high, golden-tipped That Sikhottabong Stupa, and Tham Phabang Cave’s 300-year-old wooden Buddha. Ponder a 1,500-year-old towering shrine to Buddha. Thakaek’s iconic 29-meter-high, golden-tipped That Sikhottabong Stupa stands as one of Laos’ most sacred sites. The Sikhottabong Empire built the original Mekong Riverside shrine around the 6th century for...Read more.
Savannakhet: A trip on the Savannakhet Historic Trail leads the way to Buddhist sites dating more than 2,000 years. That Ing Hang, headlines the province’s sites, and is where Buddha delivered a sermon. Many believe the stupa houses parts of Buddha’s spine. The story continues at That Phonh Stupa, where Buddha’s next step landed 40 km away. You’ll find Savannakhet’s oldest Buddhist temple, Vat Xaiyaphoum on...Read more.
Vientiane Capital: Ancient Buddhist sites hold their ground in the growing, modernizing capital. Start at That Luang, Laos’ most sacred religious structure. See Vat Sisaket, constructed in 1818, and is the only temple that survived the Siamese invasion in 1828. Step into Vat Phra Keo, constructed in 1565, to house the Emerald Buddha. That Dam, a city landmark constructed in the 16th century, is the home of a seven...Read more.
Vientiane Province: Vang Vieng visitors can add a temple tour to their stay. 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. Begin your Vang Vieng temple adventure at Vat Mahathat in the town’s...Read more.
Southern Laos Buddhist Temples & Shrines
Attapeu: Visit one of Attapeu’s few Buddhist temples, Vat Sakhae and Stupa. Easy to reach from Attapeu Town, the religious site was built in 1577 in honour of Lane Xang King Sayasetthathirath, who died nearby. The ancient Vat Sakhae houses the sacred Buddha image of Ongsene. Dating further stands Kavanghine Place, a rock structure in Phouvong believed to have been constructed during the legendary Muang Chueng...Read more.
Champasak: Champasak’s culture intertwines with Buddhism, especially along the Mekong. In Pakse Town, wander around Vat Luang on the Xe Don riverbank. A short walk from Vat Phou leads to the ancient Temple of Nang Sida. Close by, you can inspect pre-Angkor Vat Tomo and the 13th-century Vat Thao Thao. View Vat Hin Siew’s sacred stone, and the colonial-style Vat Vieng Thong containing cremated remains. Inspect...Read more.
Salavan: Several of Salavan’s Buddhist sites are within a few hour’s drive from Pakse. Stop at the base of Phou Tak Khao Mountain to visit Vat Nongsonghong and Phoupakeo Cave, which houses the Phrakeophalitmok Buddha chiselled from stone more than 100 years ago. In Salavan Town, wander down to the Xe Don River and Vat Simongkhoun. View the remnants of a 200-year-old temple now covered in vines. Built...Read more.