That Luang

The golden symbol of Laos

Photo of , , Vientiane

What we say: 4 stars

No town in Laos is complete without a stupa or two and, as it's the capital city, it seems fitting that Vientiane has the biggest. Located about two clicks east of the Patuxai monument, golden That Luang is the national symbol.

The stupa was first built in 1566 and was said to contain a hair from the Buddha, but repeated attacks over the following centuries mean the stupa has been rebuilt and remodelled many times.

The gleaming structure you see today was reconstructed in the 1930s under the guidance of the French, and its tapering golden spire rises 45 metres into the sky. That Luang's size is best appreciated from a distance, especially around sunset, or you can pay to enter the inner courtyard for a closer look. It's here you'll likely stumble upon a monk or two, some of whom are happy to chat in English about life as a monk.

The statue near the front gate is of King Setthathilath who is reputed to have commissioned the original stupa when he relocated the capital to Vientiane from Luang Prabang. That Luang was once flanked by temples at all four sides, but only Wat Luang Nua and Wat Luang Tai remain. That Luang and its grounds are the epicentre of the annual That Luang Festival.

More details
Lane Xang Ave
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00-12:00, 13:00-16:00
Last updated: 5th November, 2013
Last reviewed by:
Born in Aarhus Denmark, Ivana got her first passport at 6 months old and moved to Southeast Asia in 2009 to work as an English teacher and find new cultural windows in which to peep.

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