"Impressive and important place." Top 5 Page for this destination Luang Prabang Things to Do Tip by planxty

Luang Prabang Things to Do: 461 reviews and 1,015 photos

  Wat Visoun, Luang Prabang, Lao.
by planxty
 
 

Wat Visunarat has more spellings than I have T-shirts in my bag, and I reproduce some of them here should you run across variants - Wisunalat, Vixoun, Visounnarath, Vixunhalat, Wisunarat. Whatever you care to name it, it remains a hugely important temple and closely interwoven with the history of Luang Prabang, indeed it is beleived to be the oldest functioning temple in the city.

It was built in 1512 by a King of the same name (or names) and is a fine example of the earliest Luang Prabang architectural style and is believed to have been built on the rice fields of the guardian spirits of the city. What the spirits thought of having their rice fields taken from them is not recorded.

Unfortunately, the sim (temple building) you see today, although impressive, is not entirely the original structure. Much of that was destroyed when the Chinese, in one of their many belliegerent forays South, laid waste to much of that in 1887 when the Haw Black Flag mob paid a visit.

Restoration work was begun in 1896 and completed in 1898 under the auspices of King Sakkarin Kamsuk with the original style retained although bricks and mortar replaced the original wood.

The main Buddha image inside is the largest in Luang Prabang, and is truly huge, it is most impressive to look at. It is surrounded with literally dozens of other images. However, it is behind the main image that I discovered the real treasure trove. I am not being disrespectful at all when I say that the area there, which you are allowed to walk round, is like the stock room of an antique shop. All manner of images, wooden carvings, some evidently very old, and all sorts of religious objets d'art reside and they are absolutely fascinating. Do go and take a look there if you visit.

This particular Wat, of the 34 still functioning in Luang Prabang, retains a special place in the heart of the local people, and is an absolute must see for the visitor. There is an admission charge of 20,000 kip and it is open daily from 0800 - 1700.

Address: Ban Visoun, Luang Prabang.
Directions: In the village that bears it's name, Southeast of Mt. Phousi. Just ask any local, they will know.
Phone: +00 856 (0)71 212470

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 3, 2010
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planxty

“I have declared myself an unsafe building!”

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