That Luang Stupa Temple in Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane Golden Stupa Temple

That Luang Stupa is located just about 4 kilometers from Vientiane town center. Also known as the Golden Stupa, this ancient temple is the most important national monument for Laos.

Getting to this temple is easy as you can take a tuk tuk or rent a motorcycle and ride there yourself. Well, most tourist choose this way. By the way, That is pronounced Thut.

Main Temple grounds

The road there will take you pass Arc Patuxai and is a straight easy road to this temple. On reaching the stupa grounds, there is a motor bike parking spot or the tuk tuk will drop you at the drop off point.

Walking in, you will see the Golden Stupa far in the back and you will pass a statue of King Setthathirat where locals will pray to the statue.

Lao lady offering prayers

Main entrance view

The Stupa is an amazing sight to see as the entire temple is painted in gold. It was also built in 1566 and restored in the 18th and 19th century. The condition of this stupa is absolutely amazing. There is a entrance charge of 3,000 KIP to go in.

When I was there, some budget travelers refused to pay and just stood outside and took pictures. Oh well, there will be all kinds of travelers.

Inside the golden stupa

I would recommend to go in as not every trip to a new country, you will see something as grand as this. The structure and finishing of the temple is really well done.

The stupa grounds are well taken care of and the place is clean. Some minor renovations are always ongoing to completely restore this national pride of Laos.

Broken Artifacts on display

Along the corridors of the Golden Stupa, you will see a number of broken pieces belonging to statues from the ancient temple.

They are put out in the open but there are guards in the area so don't have any funny ideas here. It is a national crime if you are caught trying to carry relics or artifacts out of Laos.

The writer posing by the stupa

Wat That Luang Tai temple

Just at the south end of the main stupa, there is another temple called Wat That Luang Tai. This Wat is another amazing place to visit.

History says that in 1566, there were actually four Wats built around the main Golden Stupa, however this this day, only two remain and Wat That Luang Tai is one of them.

Below is a video of how amazing the art work inside the temple



And another video if the temple ceiling doing a 180 degree pan




Wat That Luang Tai temple - Fully painted ceiling

Entering Wat That Luang Tai and seeing the beautiful hand painted art work will put your mind in pure awe. It is amazing how they can actually beautify a simple temple with Buddha art work.

Wat That Luang Tai temple - Close up of the paintings

If you look around the temple, you will see that the pictures are actually telling a story. Sadly I did not have a guide to translate it to me. So if you go there with a guide, please do ask them what the story is all about. It looks very interesting.

Me sitting at the steps of the Wat That Luang Tai temple

Wat That Luang Tai temple grounds with various statues

Also at the temple grounds, there are various statues of Buddha and deities with some animal statues offering prayers to Buddha. Mind you these statues are all life sized statues which are well crafted and robed in orange.

Wat That Luang Nuea temple structure

The other Wat which is at the north corner of the Golden Stupa is called Wat That Luang Nuea. This temple was closed when I was there but from the outside, it looked very nice and grand but not as grand at the Golden Stupa.

The temple grounds are peaceful and you can just sit there and relax admitting the beauty and tranquility there.

Hawker selling interesting Lao whiskey

After finishing our Stupa visit, we walked around the temple grounds and saw various hawkers selling all sorts of things.

The one that captivated me most was the local whiskey seller as in the picture above. Just take a look at the nice goodies he has packed in the bottles. (Click the picture for a close up)

Mini market outside the temple

There is also a small one street market selling various souvenirs and praying items. We took a slow walk to see what the locals were selling. There was also local Lao food and drinks apart from the local handicraft and souvenirs being sold here.

Wat That Luang Stupa - Money offerings

One of the stalls was selling Lao money (called KIP) folded into various shapes for praying purposes. I wanted to ask them but again, my Lao speaking skills are zero. So, we just gawked at them while the lady spoke to us in Lao trying to explain the items.

Motorbike parking at the temple grounds

Finally at the end, we get to the rented bike at the motorcycle parking and head back to town to continue our amazing Lao holiday. We also went to Buddha Park which is about 25 kilometers from Vientiane. Read my experience by bike to the Buddha Park in Vientiane.

For those of you planning to go to Laos or Vientiane, keep in mind that the biggest festival for the Lao people happens on every full moon of November.

They call this the That Luang Festival and it is celebrated for 7 days and nights continuously. This would be an awesome sight to witness.

The That Luang Stupa has visiting times;
  • Daily - 8.00 am to 12.00 noon AND 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm.
  • They are closed for lunch.
  • Admission is 3,000 KIP
  • Motorbike Parking is 2,000 KIP
  • Tuk Tuk price varies from 45,000 KIP to 60,000 KIP
If you are visiting Laos, you would most probably make a stop in the main city of Vientiane before heading out to other cities. If you are headed up north, read about 10 Things to do in Luang Prabang

Most travelers would spend a few days in the main city exploring it carefully. Moving around would take you to many interesting places and one of them well worth the visit is That Luang Stupa Temple in Vientaine.

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