Photo: The view from afar.

Mount Phou Si

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Dominating the peninsula and visible from afar, Mount Phou Si is the epicentre of Luang Prabang. The golden stupa at its peak radiates like a beacon beckoning all—predictably, it is an extremely popular spot for sunset.





The vantage point gives panoramic views of the pretty rooftops, radiant temples, the surrounding mountains and on a clear day, the Mekong glowing as the sun performs its dramatic swan song. Sunrise is another special time to visit. Steps (328 to be exact) lead up to Wat Tham Phou Si, a temple built up against a rock. It has a drum chapel, hall and stupa That Chomsi, built in 1804—it’s here that sunset-shippers flock for photos.

The sunset views from the summit are spectacular. Photo taken in or around Mount Phou Si, Luang Prabang, Laos by Cindy Fan.

The sunset views from the summit are spectacular. Photo: Cindy Fan

The temple mountain is considered sacred and should be treated as any other wat in town, so visitors should be dressed appropriately, there’s no drinking alcohol, smoking or public displays of affection. Unfortunately these rules are largely ignored and vendors even sell beer, as well as live birds since there’s a local belief that releasing the birds (ironically caught for this purpose) earns merit. Please do not buy birds, drink alcohol, climb up the stupa or canoodle with your amour.

There are two main entrances, one stairway on the main road (Sisavangvong Road) directly across from the gate of the Royal Palace Museum, and the other at the back on the Nam Khan river. The conga line of tourists start making their way up at around 17:00. There’s another entrance that hardly anyone uses (and not surprisingly, it’s the way we go). On the main street take the alley beside Opera Bar that leads to the hidden in plain sight ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Mount Phou Si
Between Sisavangvong and Phou Si Roads, Luang Prabang
Mo–Su.
Admission: 20,000kip

Location map for Mount Phou Si

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