Photo: Old shopfront, Savannakhet.

Temples in Savannakhet

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The most notable is Wat Xaiyaphoum, which faces the river towards the northern end of Tha Hae Rd and was built in the mid 1500s, making it the oldest in Savannakhet.

Photo of Temples in Savannakhet

Given how Wat Xaiyaphoum's outer stone walls look like they're ready to keel over, we don't doubt its age. Just outside the wat is a centuries-old old banyan tree with a not-so-spectacular carving of the Buddha's face in the roots and a handful of defunct spirit houses lying around. The wat also features an ancient chedi near Khantabouli Road. When we last visited, a group of young monks and laymen were polishing dozens of Buddha images in the central courtyard.

Wat Sayamongkhun between Phetsarat and Senna Roads to the south of town is also worth a peek for its nagas with tommy-marbles for eyes and mouths filled with sticky rice offerings.

Up on Chao Kim Road on the way to Leena Guesthouse, Wat Rattana is a typical but pleasant and relaxed Lao temple that's worth a few minutes if you find yourself up that way.

Exemplifying Savannakhet's multicultural make-up, there's also a fairly large Vietnamese temple around the corner from Wat Rattana and a couple of Chinese shrines scattered around town. Stop by the one on the corner of Phetsarat and Soutthanou Roads to wish for safe travels from a large and lovely statue of Guanyin.

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