Luang Prabang Wats
The town of Luang Prabang is famous for its more than thirty wats (temples) that are scattered throughout the town, happily coexisting besides schools, boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Many of them have small dormitories for the many young monks studying in Luang Prabang, which makes them feel full of life.
The most historically important—and oldest—temple is Wat Xiengthong at the tip of the Luang Prabang peninsula. Its most ancient structures hail from 1560 and each building of the compound boasts stunning decorative details (don’t miss the Tree of Life mosaic on the back of the Ordination Hall). The elaborate gilded pagoda on the top of the central temple indicates that Xienthong was a temple supported by the royal family. Another important (but lesser visited) temple is Wat Sene, across the street from Bat Vat Sene. Its Thai-style façade is a gorgeous patchwork of red and gold. The third-most important Buddhist site locals will steer you towards is That Chomsi on top of Mount Phou Si.
Wat Xieng Thong
Writes Indagare member Pamela Murdock:
One of the oldest (1560) and most important temples in the country, Wat Xieng Thong (Golden City Temple) sits at the tip of town, where the Khan River meets the Mekong. The various temples in the complex are decorated with intricate and colorful mirrored mosaics inside and out. One of the buildings was a royal funeral chapel with a huge golden funeral chariot built in the form of several bodies of parallel naga with fangs and long tongues curling out. It’s very dramatic.