Vat Phou temple full day
The Vat Phou temple complex is part of the Champasak cultural landscape, the oldest settlements dating back to the 5th century a.d.. Meaning “Temple of the mountain” in Lao language it refers to the Phou Kao peak rising 1408 meters behind the temple. The mountains Sanskrit name “Lingaparvata” literally describes the natural linga shaped (phallic) rock formation on top of it. Because of this peculiar shape Phou Kao Mountain was sacred to the Khmer people and considered to be the center of the world. Being built during the late 10th and early 11th century a.d. Vat Phou predates the more famous Angkor Vat in Cambodia by more than 100 years. An ancient 240 km long road directly connected these two main cities of the Khmer empire. In 2001 Vat Phou, Hong Nang Sida, Vat Tomo, Phou Kao Mountain, the remains of the two ancient cities Shrestrapura and Lingapura and several smaller Khmer ruins became UNESCO world heritage sites.
Departure: 08.00 hrs
Return: 17.00 hrs
08.40 hrs – 11.40 hrs
After entering VAT PHOU temple, it is recommended to visit the museum first. An electric shuttle vehicle will take you for free from the museum about 1 km to the first level of structural remains. Following the ancient causeway upwards past partially reconstructed ruins decorated with stone carvings of Hindu deities and demons, you climb up steep rocky stairways, until the sacred spring invites you to taste the clean, fresh holy water.
12.00 hrs – 12.30 hrs
After visit, continue to Vat Muang Kang is the oldest active temple in Champasak (19th century). This impressive monastery contains five buildings, which are a unique mix of colonial, Vietnamese and traditional Siamese-Laotian styles. It is located alongside the river bank and facing the river.
12.50 hrs – 14.00 hrs
Returning to Champasak, a Lao style lunch will be served at Nakorn Café & Restaurant. Overlooking the Mekong to Don Daeng Island, you can refresh body and mind with their exquisite food in the shadow of a curtain of bamboo on a breathtaking panorama.
14.00 hrs – 15.00 hrs
Before returning to Pakse there is the opportunity to explore Champasak town by walk to see old French colonial buildings and several local temples. It has been the capital of the third Kingdom of Laos in 1713 a.d. and was built on top of the ruins of the ancient Khmer cities Shreshtapura and Lingapura. First documented settlements from 5th century a.d., making it difficult to notice any remnants of them nowadays.
15.05 hrs – 17.00 hrs
Cruising the Mekong upstream you can lean back and watch fisherman at work, boats ferrying goods and people back and forth while passing lush green mountains and the occasional settlement at the riverbanks. Floating past a magical sunset will conclude this tour on arrival back at Pakse.
TOTAL COVERED DISTANCE: around 90 Kilometers.