Wat Xieng Mouane, Wat Choum Khong & Wat Sanasongkham @ Luang Prabang

Posted: July 14, 2010 in Sights
Tags: , , , ,

After witnessing the humbling tak bat ( morning alms round) ceremony and a stroll by the river bank, stomach growling, we headed on down the street and settled down at a stall selling pho ( in front of Sackarinh guest house) .They were just getting ready to start for the day


While we waited, the smell of charcoal fire permeated the air, hmm..nice. After maybe 10 minutes wait, the noodles were ready. The noodles ( koay teow) were kinda thicker than the usual ones we get back home and felt a bit rough. In the soup were pork slices ( a bit tough), bean sprouts, tomato and fried garlic pieces. A bowl of vege were provided with the noodles, and I dropped some mint, long beans and spring onion into the soup. We paid 10,000 kip ( ~RM4) per bowl , Overall, rather average lah


After breakfast, we headed off to Wat Xieng Mouane, and  saw another temple before this, we wanted to go in, but there was a growling dog standing not far from the entrance which made us a bit nervous, so we decided not to offend Mr Dog and proceed to Wat Xieng Mouane.

 Extracts from  http://www.asiaexplorers.com/laos/wat-xieng-mouane.htm

Wat Xiengmouane founded by Phragna Sisonxay in 1865, during the reign of King Chantarath (1851-72). In the beginning, it was called Monastery of Melodious Sounds, due to the harmonious sounds of its gongs. Later on, it was given another nickname, Monastery of Joyous town.

There is also a vocational school within the compound of Wat Xiengmouane. This school was started by Unesco and funded by a grant from the government of Norway. Its purpose is to teach the novice monks the traditional arts and crafts such as lacquer work, stencilling, painting, glass mosaic, wood carving, sculpture and other ornamental works for the Laotian temples.

The main sim ( note that  there were no ‘dok so far’ ( golden pointy thingies)  on the ridgepole, so this was not built by a king- as mentioned in the extract above )


We saw some statues in various stages of completion /uncompletion


I rather liked the expression of this statue of the Buddha


 After our short visit at Wat Xieng Mouane, we headed back to the first temple, Mr Grouchy was still there, we waited for a bit…then another dog came by which totally diverted Mr Dog’s attention and hurahhh..we could finally enter the compound of Wat Choum Khong

The first thing that caught our attention (apart from Mr Dog) was the 2 chinese looking bronze statues in front of the main sim . When doing a web search I found that some sites mentioned these 2 statues, but that they are located at the monks quarters  , so I guess, these statues must have been relocated to a more prominent position at the main sim. ( i just noticed the pix below a bit senget )


Wat Choum Khong was built in 1843 and when through some renovations along the way, for a very detailed info , please visit : http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/laos/luangprabang/wat-choum-khong.php

 Extracts : Of some significance, and showing Choung Khong’s continuing contact with the past of Luang Prabang, are two carved stone statues, distinctively Chinese, that now are in front of one of the kutis, or living quarters. In 1861 they were presented to King Chantharath (1850-1872) by the Chinese ambassador from Kunming during his visit to Luang Prabang. Reflecting elements of yin and yang, the statues represent two primary bodhisattvas of Chinese Buddhism: Vajra the lightning or thunderbolt representing masculine principles and the Ghanta representing the bell, or feminine principles. The latter symbol, of course, is also tied to the name of the wat. Their subsequent history in Luang Prabang is rather interesting. The (possibly somewhat disreputable) interim High Commissioner of France in Luang Prabang in the 1890s, M. Joseph Vacle, placed them in front of his residence. After the First World War Boun Khong (Tiao Maha Oupahat), one of the most eminent preservers of the cultural heritage of Luang Prabang and father of the Princes Phetsarath, Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong, deposited them in the Royal Palace. Then in the 1930s, the Laotian Prince and Director of Culture, Tiao Patasavong Sisouphan presented them to Wat Chom Kong, where they have been since that time. They formerly guarded the central stairway the sim. Now they flank the doorway of the nearby kuti.

There were many golden Buddha statues in various poses around the compound



This Wat has an enormous and well maintained garden , sweet scent of jasmine filled the air and colourful blooms dotted the landscape ( all this time, we kept our eyes open for Mr Dog)


We headed back to our guesthouse and walked passed a section of the morning market and saw another temple :  Wat Phonesay Sanasongkham

The main gate (directly outside the gate is the busy bustling morning market)


Extracts from  http://www.culturalprofiles.net/laos/units/826.html : Built in 1791 by King Anourathurath (1792-1819), the ‘Monastery of the Hill of Victories’ was named for its large Buddha statue, to which kings and dignitaries prayed prior to their departure for warfare. The wat was entirely rebuilt using reinforced concrete in 1970.

The rather impressive looking sim,


A rather cute looking guardian ( sorry, I know cute is not usually associated with guardian of temples)


  1. alpha1 says:

    Wei… still don’t wanna come come eh? migrated there for good? btw, do you have an email? wanna send you my newly created blog. Update me la! Tk cr!

  2. pegasuskl says:

    Wei Alpha..me home ady mahh..these are backdated posts lahh ( a few more to go about Laos, and then back to FOOD 🙂 ) You can e-mail me at bual2kosong@gmail.com.
    BTW, i tried Chuan Kee at Ulu Jln Pudu that u recommended. good lah !

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