Workers renovating Wat Phu.

Workers renovating Wat Phu.

Workers renovating Wat Phu.


Vat Phou or Wat Phu (Lao: ວັດພູ [wāt pʰúː] temple-mountain) is a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos. It is located at the base of mount Phu Kao, some 6 km from the Mekong river in Champasak province. There was a temple on the site as early as the 5th century, but the surviving structures date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The temple has a unique structure, in which the elements lead to a shrine where a linga was bathed in water from a mountain spring. The site later became a centre of Theravada Buddhist worship, which it remains today.

Taken on: 16th March, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See Chris.E's page of Flickr

Read more about Champasak

On the western bank of the slow-flowing Mekong, some 40 kilometres south of Pakse, sits the quaint riverside town of Champasak. A modest place, Champasak is deserted compared to places such as Pakse and Don Dhet, with travellers preferring to take daytrips to nearby Wat Phu. To our minds, this makes the town even more appealing than it has ever been.

The Khmer-period ruins of Wat Phu, some 10 kilometres to the southwest of town, were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001, but aside from a large carpark, a semi-modern looking administrative centre and a museum, the fantastic ruins are largely as they've been for centuries.

Well worn and heavily weathered, this is the most important Khmer site in Laos. An attractive but rather small affair, what Wat Phu lacks in size and grandeur it more ... Read our complete Champasak travel guide

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