Temples in Chomphet District
Wat Xieng Man
The most beautiful and colourful temple in Chompet District and one of historical significance to the region, Wat Xieng Man was originally built in the 16th century, modeled on the famous Wat Xieng Thong temple. It features a traditional thatched roof with ornate fixtures. The floors of this temple are covered in very charming black, grey and white French floor tiles, which date back to the 19th century.
You will notice a very small temple with a lock next to the main building. It was built by the Prime Minister of Laos in 2013 in order to protect some of the temple’s precious Buddha statues from being plundered. There are over 200 statues hidden in this little Buddha house – including one dating back to the 13th century.
Wat Long Khoun
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy this temple which is located on a shady patch of land by the Mekong River. As you walk up the cement staircase to the entrance of the temple grounds, take a look to your left and marvel at the sight of a prehistoric-looking palm tree with gigantic fronds. Moving around to the temple entrance, the first thing you will notice are two menacing looking figures that have been painted on either side of the doorway. The temple, which was built in the 18th century, became the sleeping quarters for Chinese soldiers in 1890 when they came to do battle in Luang Prabang. The story goes that the soldiers were not able to enjoy a good night’s sleep due to the spirits of the temple which kept them awake, so they painted this mural to protect the troops and ensure a peaceful slumber during their stay. You’ll also find magnificent Lao paintings on the walls inside the temple depicting the 10 lives of Lord Buddha – including a very graphic scene involving several giant fish with blood-covered teeth devouring villagers.
Wat Long Khoun is an historically significant temple as it’s where several Lao princes came to meditate before taking to the throne. At the back of the temple compound, on an elevated piece of land, you’ll find two old wooden houses and a long oblong white meditation room without windows. All of these buildings were made in the 18th century and served as places for royalty to meditate. You are welcome to enter the long white building on the upper terrace which was used on the full moon and dark moon as a place for monks and the prince to pace up and down, with their eyes closed, in meditation.
Open daily from 08:00am to 17:00pm
If you buy entrance ticket at Wat Long Khoun, you can visit others temples which is next to the north without payment again.
Wat Tham Sakkarin (Sakkarin Cave)
Did you know that Lao people believe that if water drips onto your head inside a cave it will bring you good luck? This small cave can be found a short walk from Wat Long Khoun. Your ticket price for the temple will include a local guide to walk you to the cave and unlock the gates for you. The cave was used as a place of meditation for the royal family and contains a small white stupa inside which houses the bones of a former king. On a lower level of the cave you’ll find a natural rock formation that locals believe looks like an eagle.
There are two ways to return back to the boat pier after visiting this temple. You can go back through Ban Xieng Man or keep following the trail, which loops back via a dirt road.
Others in Buddhism
It can’t compete with other temples in town when it comes to history, but Wat Paphonphao wins points for being a visual spectacle that sits above the city centre, glowing golden all day long.