Walking up Phousi Hill in Laos
The centre of Luang Prabang is dominated by a hill that offers magnificent 360° views over the city.
You can walk up Phousi hill through a gorgeous forest, flanked by the occasional frangipani and hibiscus. I have separated my Laos flower pics to another post – instead I like to show you the fantastic temple structures on the hill.
On top of Phousi you will find the prominent golden stupa, also known as Wat That Chomsi.
In the very back, on top of the green hill (and behind those black Asian cables) you can see the golden stupa. Let’s go up!
It is over 200 steps (numbers vary to up to over 300 – I should’ve done a count!).
You can walk up the hill from two sides. If you walk up one side and down the other (most people don’t know/do that), you will pass big Buddha statues painted in gold, as well as a temple cave!
At the base (walking up opposite the National Museum), there is tiny Wat Pahouak.
It holds a ‘wonderful picture’ but unfortunately it was closed on the day of our visit so you have to tell me what it’s like, in case you visit!
You will meet monks and locals on the way. A traditionally clothed Laotian lady.
Jungle forest flora…
Facts before reaching the top.
This is what it looks when you attempt to ascend from the other side of the hill.
In that case you will pass Wat Thammo Thayram with the golden Buddha statues and the cave.
Mini shrine. It was here that we met some very chatty monks, eager to improve their English. As soon as we emerged, we were greeted by the monks who started a conversation. Some had walked over an hour to practice their language skills, as their monasteries were so remote, no visitor would come by. They told us that their day starts at 3.30 am and ends at about 10 in the evening with daily meditation and the study of Buddhist scriptures.
Enter the temple cave. Entrance fee is 20.000 kip per person for the whole temple complex.
Inside the cave.
Lucky draw. If you know Lao or someone who does, you can pick a fortune stick (match the sign on the stick with the fortune note) and read about your future.
Walk further up some stunning dragon stairs.
Buddha was here! Pass Buddha’s footprint.
Marvel at the Buddha arrangements.
Greet the lady with the long ponytail-fountain.
Enigmatic signs, I didn’t understand.
Walk further up!
Taking a break at What That Chomsi – an emergency had occurred at work! Tomek’s life as a perpetual traveler+freelancer is a weeny bit harder than mine.
And finally, you made it. The golden stupa!
Enjoy the view.
Luang Prabang and the old motorcycle bridge.
On another – rainy day. We walked the hill up twice!
Couples and tourists queue for a picture here. But the photo spot is also occupied by (big Laotian) ants!
I got ants in me pants!
We are golden!
If you feel like another stupa, that looks more ancient and is a hidden spot, I really recommend you visit…
The entrance is magnificent.
Impressive! A bit like Angkor Wat.
Mossy and not renovated, it has that ancient magic.
Do Wat Visounnarath! It is free.
I almost forgot to mention that teenage monks were drumming mesmerizing Buddhist rhythms as we were climbing up Phousi hill. See them play some huge drums and walk up with us!
Stay tuned for some more Laotian utopia!