Wat Xieng Thong

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Near the junction of the mighty Mekong and Nam Khan River is Luang Prabang's most celebrated wat (temple), and perhaps the most beautiful one in Laos- the Wat Xieng Thong. Since King Setthathirat ordered its construction around1560, the Wat Xieng Thong has been a royal temple where the kings of Lao were crowned.

Beneath the overlapping, swooping roofs shelters a treasure trove of notable Buddhist and royal artifacts, such as the especially rare reclining Buddha that dates from the construction of the wat, the 12-meter-high funeral carriage used by the royal family.

Both the exterior and interior of the temple is richly decorated with painted figurines, intricately colored glass mosaics depicting Lao legends and beautifully carved walls depicting scenes from Buddha's life, all of which tell the stories of Lao. It is also one of the only two wats that were survived from the damage during the sacking of Luang Prabang in 1887. For centuries, it endures as a highly revered shrine.

From Wat Xieng Thong, the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Visoun, and the noted Royal Palace Museum are within walking distance and worth visiting.

Check out this sample itinerary which includes a visit to the Wat Xieng Thong.

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