Luang Prabang Wat Xieng Thong Temple

Luang Prabang Wat Xieng Thong Temple
The Wat Xieng Thong Temple or the Golden City Temple is one of the most important temples in the entire Laos, and found here in Luang Prabang.

This magnificent temple is is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Luang Prabang and was built around the year 1560 by King Setthathirat, the ruler of Laos back then.

The temple has many names like Xieng Thong Ratsavoravihanh or Volavihan the "Golden City or Golden Tree Monastery". But most would call this place Wat Xieng Thong Temple.

Wat Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang

Wat Xieng Thong Temple Entrance
Stucco Entrance to Wat Xieng Thong Temple
The Wat Xieng Thong Temple is also located in the main town area so getting here is just a casual walk from the main street of Luang Prabang

There is an entry fee of KIP 5,000 (US$0.50), and you pay at the temple entrance, and the money goes to the temple conservation. 

Wat Xieng Thong Temple Video


Photo of Wat Xieng Thong Temple
Chariot Chapel at Wat Xieng Thong Temple
As you walk in after paying the entrance fees, the first thing you will see is one of the main temple buildings in the compound on your left. 

This is actually a Chariot Chapel which houses the Royal Funeral Chariot, and replicas of caskets and Buddha statues. 

The entire building looks solid gold from afar, but when you get close you will start to see intricate carvings painted in gold.

Funeral Chariot in Laos
Lao Funeral Chariot
Once you get inside the Chariot Chapel, you will see the Lao Royal Funeral Chariot which carries the replica casket of King Sisavang Vong who passed away in 1960.

Also on the carriage was the King's wife and brothers casket. This chariot is on wheels and has a 5 headed Naga (Dragon) in the front.

Photos of Wat  Xieng Thong Temple
Gold Buddhist figurines are placed around wrapped in orange cloth
Photo of Luang Prabang Temple
Very unique dragon heads on a funeral chariot
A side view of the Dragons or Nagas that lead the funeral chariot look very impressive. They are hand carved and painted in bright gold, and the workmanship for these dragons are immaculate.

Luang Prabang Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang
The main temple here is Wat Xieng Thong or The Golden City Temple, which  lis found at back of the main compound.

When I was here, the temple looked a little run down, but I was told that they were going to renovate the place. After all, it was built in the 16th century and only refurbished and remodeled once in the 1960s.

Luang Prabang Golden Buddha Statue
A massive golden Buddha statue inside the main temple
Video of  Wat Xieng Thong Temple 



Wat Xieng Thong temple picture
Side view of Wat Xieng Thong temple
The beauty about Wat Xieng Thong temple is that the ancient Lao architecture involved here is very amazing.

Roof eaves that are low slung, gold leaf designs throughout, intricate traditional wood carvings and amazing mosaic work make the temple very different from most other temples I have seen. 

Area of Wat Xieng Thong temple
The back of Wat Xieng Thong temple
At the back portion of the temple, you will find a huge Buddhist Tree Of Life, was crafted in the 1960's by skilled Lao mosaic crafters.

Looking closely at the tree of life, it goes all the way up the main temple back wall to about 30 feet high.

Tree of Life Buddhist
Buddhist Tree Of Life made from mosaic

On looking closely, the skill involved to make this Buddhist Tree Of Life is simply amazing as thousands of mosaics in various colours were used carefully in designing this.


I stood there, imagining how many skilled workers were needed to carefully create this beautiful tree of life. 

Luang Prabang Tree Of Life
A monk walks pass the back of Wat Xieng Thong Tree Of Life
Gold Tree of Life
A Buddhist Tree Of Life in gold paint
Around the temple grounds you will come across various smaller Wats or chapels and some of them are beautifully decorated, painted and crafted.

A lot of work has gone into these to make them one of Laos most beautiful temples. Occasionally you will see the local monks from the temple, and some of them may even approach you and ask you where you are from in English.

I was pretty surprised when one of the child monks about 14 years old, approached me and asked me which country did I come from in good English.

I ended up having a short and sweet conversation with the little monk, and he was pretty ecstatic that someone from Malaysia had visited his temple, stating that to date, he has never met a Malaysian.

For a detailed history read, visit the Asian Historical Architecture website for Wat Xieng Thong Temple.

Wat Xien Thong Temple
Address: Khem Khong, Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos Wat  Xieng Thong
One of the smaller shrines at the temple
My Conclusion to Wat Xieng Thong Golden City Temple

For anyone who is visiting Luang Prabang, this temple should not be missed, plus it is located in the main town vicinity. It is easy to get to, and you can spend a quick 30 minutes to an hour inside here.

There are also many other things that you can do in Luang Prabang, and it is highly recommended that you plan at least four to five days to visit this beautiful city in northern Laos.

I hope you liked my review of the Luang Prabang Wat Xieng Thong Temple in Laos, and also hope that you will have the opportunity to visit this amazing historical place. 
Luang Prabang Wat Xieng Thong Temple Luang Prabang Wat Xieng Thong Temple Reviewed by Malaysia Asia on Tuesday, November 03, 2009 Rating: 5

7 comments:

Henry LeE ® said...

Good review there! Wahhh Laos seems like a nice exotic place to visit, but comparing Laos and Cambodia... which one would u suggest to go better for its price and places of interest?

David Jr said...

Henry, thank you. I would easily recommend you try Laos to Cambodia if you only have one choice. Cambodia is currently a little over rated and hoards of tourist are flocking there where esle in Laos, it is still considered a new place to explore. Great in prices and interest.

David

Lisa717 said...

wow!! nice meeting you and it's glad to know that you blog about GREAT travel destinations!!!

Between, you've covered your posts with awesome reviews too!!

Looking forward to exchange link with you..hope you dun mind to do so~~

Henry LeE ® said...

Great, now i shall plan my next travel trip to Laos instead of Cambodia... :) thanks mate~

shloke said...

Wat Xieng Thong is beautiful! I love the stucco, Naga chariot and the interior deco of the main temple.

That mossaic tree of life is gorgeous! At US$0.50 per entry, that's is definitely a CHEAP & MUST-SEE attraction.

Thank you for sharing! Wish I can travel to Luang Prabang...NOW :)

Cheers!
mylo

MissForlorn said...

I really love this town, plus the night market. I just hope it's still the same, I've heard about so many tourists going there now,and some bad behaviors of travelers....

David Jr said...

Lisa717 - Thanks and hope to meet you in person one day.

Henry - Thank you and glad you chose Laos.

Mylo - I seriously hope you plan for a Laos trip. You will go crazy there with the photography options.

MissForlone - Yes, I hear that the influx of tourist is crazy these days. I think I personally need to go and see for myself again.

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