Fodor's Expert Review Wat Phou

Champasak Fodor's Choice

The ruins of this temple complex that predates Cambodia's Angkor Wat sit grandly on heights above the Mekong River, about 8 km (5 miles) south of Champasak. The strategic site was chosen by Khmer Hindus in the 6th century AD, probably because of a nearby spring of fresh water. Construction of the wat continued into the 13th century, at which point it finally became a Buddhist temple. Much of the original Hindu sculpture remains unchanged, including representations on the temple's lintels of the Hindu gods Vishnu, Shiva, and Kala. The staircase is particularly beautiful, its protective nagas (mystical serpents) decorated with plumeria, the national flower of Laos. Many of the temple's treasures, including pre-Angkor–era inscriptions, are preserved in an archaeology museum that is part of the complex. An impressive festival takes place at the temple each January.

Fodor's Choice Temple

Quick Facts

Rd. 14
Champasak, Champasak  Laos


Sight Details:
Rate Includes: 50,000 kip; 40,000 kip 6 am–8 am and 4:30–6, with no museum entry

What’s Nearby