The Pha That Luang, meaning "Great Sacred Stupa", is the most sacred monument of Laos and the national symbol. You find it on the national seal, Lao currency and countless other places. If you visit the capital, the Pha Thai Luang is a must-see.
With a total height of 147.6 feet, the splendid structure was constructed on three levels with a soaring stupa surrounded by 30 small stupas, all covered by gold leaf to demonstrate the grandeur and splendor of the kingdom. Legend has it that the temple was built as a Hindu temple in the 3rd century to hold the breastbone of Lord Buddha but was remade in the 13th century as a Khmer temple which fell into ruin. However, during the Siamese invasion the stupa was destroyed again and was reconstructed in 1930s based on the drawings of the original. Thus the stupa gives a breathtaking insight into the history and culture of Laos. Illuminated at night, it's even more splendid.
Come in November, when Lao's most important Buddhist festival - the Boun That Luang Festival is taking place in Vientiane, mainly at the That Luang, visitors will see throngs of pilgrims coming to pay homage to the stupa. And colorful celebrations are held such as parade, live music and religious ceremony.
Feel intrigued? Check out this In-Depth Laos Tour in 10 Days including a visit to Pha That Luang.