Thai tourists visiting Wat Phu.

Thai tourists visiting Wat Phu.

Thai tourists visiting 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: 17th 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

More images

A hotel boat on the Mekong River. Sunrise on the Mekong River. Renovating Wat Phu. IMG_1119.jpg Two-wheel tractors in Champasak. Lao children. Boat on the Mekong River. Buddha Statue at Wat Phu. Workers renovating Wat Phu. On the other Side Lonely Wanderer Thick Brew Mekong Ferry Washday Pump it up! Doesn't look as if it could carry Cars and Trucks Across the Mekong The ferry Village My little green Cactus Worried about Business Enfenced Unshaved Lychees Exotic Fruits Riding on three Wheels Frogs anyone? Mekong Fish Finally some packaged Stuff A Pile of Fish and some weird looking Insect Just yellow Chicken The 'safe' Part of the Market Encaged and not yellow yet Very appetizing Jona's Whale Sticky Rice Bullets What a weird Sight in Laos... Lettuce Lorry Waiting at the Vat Stop Jailed Lettuce Firestarters Heat Blur Vat Tham Fai Stupas in a Line Hot Air and Stupas Vat Tham Fai Overgrown Losing his Pants Smoke dried Robes Lao Nagesh