Wat Siri Moung Khoung, Luang Prabang

Built in the 18th century, this temple is located on Kuonxoa Road, which is right down the road from Wat Xieng Thong and nestled between Wat Sop and Wat Si Boung Houang. The main sim is a simple structure adorned with graceful cho faa finials. Cho faa means sky cluster, an apt name for these finials spiking out into the sky above from the apex of each gable on both the sim and the simpler white chapel.

The white chapel with two short and two tall round columns decorated with gold leaf, is guarded by two striking white lions with red teeth. One of the pictures shows the decorative gold door to the entrance of the chapel.

I took a picture of a Buddha statue, but I am not sure if it was here or at Wat Sop. I think it may be from Wat Sop as I look at it more closely. We went to both temples (and more) on the same day.

Wat Sene, Luang Prabang

Wat Sene was built in 1714, otherwise known as the Temple of the Patriarch. This temple is located right on the main road in all its conspicuous glory with gold stencilling applied directly to the outer walls. The doors are carved with gilded figures of divinities and mythical animals. The windows are adorned with gold stencilled balusters.

The monks work on the restorations of these temples. This one was restored in 1957 commemorating the Buddha’s birth 2500 years earlier. I wrote a short description with each photograph, to see click on the photo.

Wat Sop, Luang Prabang

Wat Sop is close to a cluster of other small wats at the northeast end of town, just down the road from Wat Xieng Thong. This wat is the oldest of the bunch, built in the 15th century, although it was rebuilt in 1909. My pictures include the colorful turquoise, green and gold stupa onsite, the large drum chapel, and initiates studying on the grounds and the sim itself.

Pak Ou Caves, Laos

Pak Ou Caves is located 25 kilometers up the muddy Mekong River from Luang Prabang accessible by boat only. We rented a boat at the bottom of a long stairway from a park off Souvannabanlang Rd. The ride was cheap in terms of US $$, and we made a couple of sight-seeing stops along the way.

Once at Pak Ou Caves, we first climbed into the lower cave called Tham Thing, shown in the first group of pictures. We climbed a steeper set of stairs into the higher cave called Tham Phum, where the figurines weren’t as plentiful but the caves were much darker. So much darker that a woman outside of the caves rents flashlights to tourists venturing in.

The caves are built into dramatic limestone cliffs. Officially, the number of figurines sits at around 4000 and many now are plaster instead of wood due to thefts over the years. New Years brings the most visitors to this site when pilgrims continue to visit and leave figurines.

Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang

In November 2002, my partner and I spent 6 days in lovely Luang Prabang, Laos. Aside from the laid back atmosphere, the excellent weather and the great food, we most enjoyed visiting a number of the Wats in and around Luang Prabang. I am creating slide shows of each Wat. The first, shown in this post after you click “continue reading” below, is Wat Xieng Thong, where I took the most pictures.

I recommend the book Ancient Luang Prabang for further reference and study. I’m very grateful this book exists because I have not been the best note-taker during my travels!

Photos include the main congregational hall or the “sim,” the very colorful Chapelle Rouge, architectural ornamentation details, doors and pictures of the grounds. I have chosen 32 pictures for this set.

If you want to see a description of the photo, click on it and the description will come up.