(Most important National Cultural Monument of Laos)
The site was first conceived in 307BC by the first governor of Vientiane, Phaya Chanthabouri Pasitthisack. Also known as “World Previous Sacred Stupa”, a breast bone of Buddha is famously known to be enshrined within itself, erected by Monks from India whom spread Buddhism to Vientiane during the era.
In 1566, King Setthathirath decided to move the capital city of Laos from Luang Prabang to Vientiane (Lan Xang Kingdom) and Pha That Luang was constructed to honor the shift, covering the pagoda in gold leaf.
Unfortunately, due to endless wars and looting from Siamese invaders during the 18th century, Pha That Luang suffered heavy damages and was eventually abandoned only to be rebuilt in 1930 by the French colonial to its original design.
Today many ancient Lao and Khmer artifacts/statues can be found within the cloistered walls with Buddhist inscriptions and sculptures. The most significant are a statue of King Jayavarman VII of the Khmer Empire and right infront of the That Luang Stupa is the statue of King Setthathirat, King of Lan Xang Kingdom. Exploring the grounds, you will find beautiful golden reclining Buddha, bell tower, Bodhi tree and Pavillions with Buddhist art.
Out of the four temples that we were built around the stupa, only 2 remains known as Wat That Luang Tai and Wat That Luang Neua. These elegant structures represent the glory of the Lan Xang Kingdom and Lao’s most prolific history.
Entrance: 5,000 kip to the Golden Stupa and free for surrounding monuments
Opening hours: 8am – 12pm and 1pm – 4pm.
Boun That Luang also known as Pha That Luang Festival is held during the full moon during the 12th lunar month. This is the largest Buddhist festival of its kind in Laos marked by hundreds of stalls selling food, handicraft and textiles. Locals and foreigners flock to the carnival to watch performances, traditional music, fireworks, street food and rides. Followed by 3 days of Buddhist ceremony to pay respects to the Golden Stupa by giving alms to local monks. Devotees will hold incense sticks while walking around the That Luang three time as a yearly rite of passage.