Luang Prabang is home to many beautiful temples. As a first time visitor to the World Heritage Town I wanted to visit as many temples that I could fit in four days. Since I was pressed for time I had to make some choices and only explored the ones that were on my “must see list”.
Wat Xieng Thong was at the top of my list of what to see and do in Luang Prabang. I have heard so much about this grand temple ever since I was a little kid growing up in Vientiane. My father told me of his dream of visiting Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang. As a Buddhist Monk it was his desire to make a pilgrimage to the magnificent temple. From listening to my father and from the stories told by my relatives of their visit to Wat Xieng Thong, the temple also became my dream of places I wanted to visit in Laos next to Khone Phapheng, Wat Phu, Tad Fane, and Lipi.
Wat Xieng Thong was found by King Setthathirat in 1560 and to this day, the temple is still one of the most important of Lao monasteries. There is a saying that if you go to Luang Prabang and not making a visit to Wat Xieng Thong, then it’s like you have never visit Luang Prabang at all.
Since I was staying at a guest house in Xieng Thong area, it took me less than five minutes on foot to visit the temple. Wat Xieng Thong is located on a peninsula between the Mekong River and Nam Khan. The entrance fee is 20,000 Kip per individual if you are not part of a tour group. Rather than buying a ticket, I made a small donation and was permitted to roam the temple for as long as I wanted. I spent a few hours in an afternoon admiring the temple structures, the graceful sloping roof, and the beautiful “tree of life” mosaic pattern on main Sim.
At the end of the day I didn’t want to leave Wat Xieng Thong and told myself that I will definitely come back to this temple again so I can absorb more of this temple’s beauties.