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That Luang Stupa Temple in Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane Golden Stupa Temple

That Luang Stupa is located just about four kilometres from the Vientiane town centre. This beautiful temple is also known as the Golden Stupa and is the most important national monument for Laos.

Getting to That Luang temple is easy as you can take a tuk-tuk or rent a motorcycle and ride there yourself. Well, most tourists choose this way, unless you are taking a local tour here.

By the way, if you are not familiar with the name, That is pronounced Thut, and Luang is pronounced as Loo-Wang.

That Luang Stupa in Vientiane

Statue at That Luang Stupa
A statue is seen at the entrance to the temple.
There will take you to pass Arc Patuxai and is a straight easy road to this temple. There is a motorbike parking spot on reaching the stupa grounds, 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.

Photo of Lao lady praying
A Lao lady offers some prayers at the temple.
Photo of the Golden Stupa in Laos
The main entrance to the Golden Stupa of Vientiane, Laos.
The Golden Stupa is an amazing sight to see as the entire temple is painted in gold. It was also built in 1566 and restored twice in the 18th and 19th centuries.

This stupa's condition is absolutely amazing, as this is the most important temple in all of Vientiane, Laos.

When I was here, I noticed that some budget travellers refused to pay the 3000 KIP entrance fee and just stood outside to took pictures. Oh well, as they say, there will be all kinds of travellers found all over the world.

Vientiane Golden Stupa
Inside the Golden Stupa of Vientiane.
I would recommend going in as not every trip to a new country, you will see something as grand as this. The structure and finishing of the temple are 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 the national pride of Laos.

Artifacts at That Luang Temple Vientiane
Some of the broken artefacts seen inside the temple.
You will see several broken pieces belonging to statues from ancient times along the Golden Stupa corridors.

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

Laos David Hogan Jr
Me doing the mandatory pose.
Photo of That Luang Tai Temple
Devotees at the 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, to this day, only two remain and Wat That Luang Tai is one of them.

Below is a video of how amazing the artwork inside the temple

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

Temple Paintings in Vientiane Laos
A story depicted on the walls and ceiling of the temple.
Entering Wat That Luang Tai and seeing the beautiful hand-painted artwork will put your mind in pure awe. It is amazing how they can actually beautify a simple temple with Buddha artwork.

Paintings at That Luang Tai Temple
A close up of the paintings in the temple.
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 ask them what the story is all about as it looks fascinating.

Laos Wat That Luang Tai
Sitting at the steps of the That Luang Tai temple.
That Luang Tai Temple
Statues at Wat That Luang Tai.
Also, there are various statues of Buddha and deities at the temple grounds, with some animal statues offering prayers to Buddha.

If you look carefully, you will notice that these statues are all life-sized statues that are well crafted and robed in orange.

That Luang Nuea Temple
Wat That Luang Nuea temple.
The other Wat or temple, which is at the north corner of the Golden Stupa, is Wat That Luang Nuea.

This temple was closed when I was there, but it looked very nice and grand but not as grand as the Golden Stupa from the outside.

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

Selling Lao WhiskyA local 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)

Street Market Vientiane
Vientiane street bazaar.
There is also a small street bazaar or market selling various souvenirs and praying items. We took a slow walk to see what the locals were selling.

You can see local Lao food and drinks being sold apart from the local handicraft and souvenirs, abundant along the street.

Money Offerings Laos
Money offerings are a Lao custom.
One of the stalls was selling Lao money (called KIP) folded into various shapes for praying purposes and a local custom.

I wanted to ask the vendor about these items' details, but again, my Lao speaking skills are totally zero.

So, I ended up just gawking at them while the lady spoke to me in Lao, trying to explain the items, and again, I was just clueless.

Motorbikes in VientianeMotorbike parking at the temple grounds.

Finally, in the end, we get to the rented bike at the motorcycle parking and head back to town to continue our amazing Lao holiday.

For those of you planning to go to Laos or Vientiane, keep in mind that the Lao people's biggest festival 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.

That Luang Stupa Visiting Information
  • 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.
*Please note prices are based on 2008 when I first visited Laos. They have definitely increased in the last 10 years, but not a lot. 

Conclusion

During my stay here, I also went to Buddha Park, about 25 kilometres from Vientiane. Read my experience by renting a bike to visit Buddha Park in Vientiane.

If you are visiting Laos in general, you would most probably stop in the main city of Vientiane before heading out to other cities. 

And if you are also planning to head up north, read about 10 Things to do in Luang Prabang as this place is very popular among the places to visit in Laos.

Most travellers 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 Vientiane.

8 comments

mhel said...

I like gazing the Wat That Luang Tai temple, very colorful. Oh and I love hawkers.

Meanwhile, I've just started blogging about Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Borneo Falcon said...

Nice coverage. I read about this temple in the travel book and you give me a clearer picture what it really looks like

Rahul said...

I appreciate the labor you have put in developing this blog. Nice and informative.

Stanley said...

I really like the colours of the temple. Very detailed.

Btw, do you travel for a living?? Lol I envy how you get to travel to SO many places.

Ihsan Khairir said...

wow, I would definitely pay that 3000 just so i can go shooting crazy inside!

how much is 3000 KIP in ringgits (or USD)?

Malaysia Asia said...

Hello all,

Asian Traveler, you should plan a trip to Laos as you will not regret it. (I cannot seem to go to your blog)

B.Falcon, so when is your trip there? It's really cheap too.

Rahul, thank you so much for your kind words.

Stanley, i is really amazing when you see it up close. Ahhh, what I do for a living? I work for a film company so the jobs are not always daily. I have been traveling for many years now, almost 20 years experience to date. Too bad I cannot bring you my older days of travel to around the world. All the pictures are in Film prints! lol.. but I managed to scan some into my PC a few years ago. Maybe one day I will make one posting for everything?

Regards,
David

Malaysia Asia said...

Ishan, trust me for a camera lover, this place rocks! I couldnt stop clicking. By the way, 3,000 KIP is about RM1.25! lol

superwilson said...

The interior very colourful. Nice stuffs.