Visiting Pha That Luang Stupa Wat That Luang Neua Palace & Temple
The Pha That Luang Stupa is so important in Laos that you will find it on the bank notes. This 45 m (148 ft) stupa was built in 1566. At that time, Vientiane has just become the capital of the Kingdom of Lan Xang, (the famous Kingdom of a Million Elephants).
However, it had to be rebuilt several times in the past centuries as it fell into ruins. For example in 1827, most of Vientiane was destroyed during the invasion of the Siamese. In the 1930’s, it was the French who rebuilt it following its original architecture.
Nowadays, it is the most sacred Buddhist monument in the country. It is covered with 500 kg (1100 lb) of gold leaf.
This beautiful golden stupa is part of a complex including two other temples (Wat That Luang Neua and Wat That Luang Tai), the showy palace of Buddhist Convention Centre, and the Saysettha Park
Pha That Luang Stupa is probably the first spot you will visit in Vientiane. Or the second, after the Quai Fa Ngum along the Mekong River. It is located about 3.5 km (2.2 miles) from the river bank.
If you like to explore the city on foot it is definitely doable, but with the heat and the risk of getting lost, hiring a tuk tuk is probably the most convenient and comfortable option. You can negociate your tuk tuk ride for around 50,000 kip (US$ 6).
Many tourists limit themselves to a walk around the stupa and the nearby temples just because there is a fee to pay to enter the inner courtyard. 5000 kip may look like a big number but that’s like half a dollar! Since you are there, it would be too bad to miss out for so little 🙂
People usually don’t spend much time in Vientiane, but the Pha That Luang is definitely worth an hour or two of your time.
Address: Ban Thatluang, Vientiane, Laos
GPS: 17°58’35.66″N, 102°38’9.57″E
Best way to go: Tuk tuk from anywhere in Vientiane.
Entrance fee: 5,000 kip (US$ 0.60) to enter the Stupa’s cloister, surrounding temples are free to enter.
Opening hours: Open every day, 8 am to 12 pm & 1 pm to 4 pm.
Duration of visit: About 1 hour.
Best season: November to March