When we visited Vientiane in Laos last November, we spent the majority of our first full day visiting the temples that are literally almost on every corner of the downtown area. Known as Wats, these temples are very beautiful and each of them is unique. Most are active Buddhist temples with monks living and working in them and you need to be respectful when visiting them.
Wat Si Saket – Wat Si Saket was built in the Siamese style of Buddhist architecture, making it different than a lot of the other wats that we visited during our tour. The architecture and artwork were definitely fascinating with so many different details on the various buildings. Built in 1818, it might be the oldest wat as many of the wats have been destroyed and rebuilt due to the many wars and invasions of Laos. Because it is a museum as well as a temple, there are many ancient Buddhist statues on display within the temple grounds.
Wat Ho Phra Keo – Built in 1565, Wat Ho Phra Keo (also known as Haw Phra Kaew) is quite beautiful. Although several of the temples have gardens, the garden that leads to the entrance of this temple was very well groomed and colorful making it very serene. It was also the one temple where we saw the most tourists during our visit to Vientiane. There is a nominal entrance fee in order get into the temple grounds, but it was included with our tour.
Wat That Luang Neua – Of the many temples that we visited during our time in Vientiane, Wat That Luang Neua was one of the most interesting. From the reclining Buddha statue to the colorful images depicting the life of Buddha, it is truly a beautiful temple. The golden statues are all quite interesting as you walk around the temple grounds. The temple itself is very open and has paintings depicting the life of Buddha all over the ceiling. The colors are so vibrant and the paintings are so interesting that one could spend hours looking at them. Located near the famous Pha That Luang, it is certainly worth taking the time to visit during a walking tour of Vientiane.