Phousi Mountain: Most Well-known Landmark in Luang Prabang
Phousi Mountain, literally meaning “Sacred Mountain”, is one of Luang Prabang’s most well-known landmarks. It is very important and sacred to the Laos people. During the Pimai Festival (Laos near year), the mountain becomes busy with pilgrims bringing flowers, incense, and other offerings to the temples and shrines along the mountain. In the early mornings during festival, people in traditional Lao dress climb the mountain with offerings for the alms-giving ceremony. Whether you travel to Laos with family, friends or in part of a romantic trip, a hike up Mount Phousi should be included. Please follow our blog to find out more information.
Phousi Mountain Facts
- The height: 100m
- Opening hours: 08:00AM – 6.00PM daily. However, it’s open till after sunset each day. You can visit it before sunrise as well.
- Entrance fees: 20.000kip /person (2.5 USD). Children under age of 7 years old are free.
- Location: It lies in the heart of the old town peninsula, one side is surrounded by the Mekong Riverand the other side is by the Nam Khan River.
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What to see at Mt. Phousi?
If Luang Prabang is the spiritual heart of Laos, Mount Phousi is the heart of this charming town in both spirituality and geography. Being the highest point in Luang Prabang town, Mt. Phousi offers 360° panorama of whole town with its temples and surrounding landscape. The blue jungle-clad mountains rise above the peaceful rivers that creates a breathtaking picture. It is especially nice at sunset when the sun reflects off the city’s golden temples with a backdrop of the misty mountains. It is easy to understand why it becomes a popular spot for sunrise and sunset.
Mt. Phousi hosts two Buddhist temples:
Wat Chom Si
Located on the top of Mount Phousi, it is a golden Buddhist temple dating back to 1804. It was constructed by King Anourat and restored in 1914. At the height of the 20m, visitors can have a pretty incredible views over the town from the temple’s terrace. There is also a smaller grotto that’s home to large golden Buddha, and it’s an active site for monks and locals laying offerings. You can buy flowers to offer for blessings from the vendors you meet on the way up
Wat Tham Phousi
It is a small cave temple in the middle of mountain. It features a statue of Buddha and another of a reclining Buddha. The most famous statue here is the statue of the reclining Buddha whose legend Buddha Tuesday. You can also see a small cave with a lot of images inside. Beside these pagodas, you can visit other important cultural sites along the way up such as, a number of seated Buddha images calling for rain, meditating, or holding alms bowls, a multi-headed serpent, and a footprint of Buddha.
How to get there?
The town is small enough that it is definitely within walking distance from most central areas. If you stay within the town, simply walk to one of its staircases to start the hike. In case you stay out of town, take a tuk tuk or get free bicycle from your hotels. There are two staircases leading to the top of Phousi Mountain
- The first one rises opposite the Royal Palace Museum on Sisavongvang road where the night market is located. With 328 steps, it tends to be the preferable route up to the top thanks to the shorter distance. However, this route does not offer scenic sports on the way up.
- The second way to the top begins next to the Nam Khan river on Thanon Phousi. This way is a bit longer with 355 steps but it takes you to a number of important cultural sites. Wat Tham Phousi is on half of this route. There are also lots of beautiful scenic viewpoints over Luang Prabang and the two rivers so it’s worth taking your time on this path to soak it all in.
The temple mountain is considered sacred and has an important part of active Buddhist life in Luang Prabang. So, it should be treated as any other wat in town.
- Visitors should be dressed appropriately and
- Behave in a calm and respectful manner.
- The consumption of alcohol here is strictly prohibited.
- Don’t climb all over the temple for a better view or photo!
- The best time to visit the mountain is at sunset. However, it particularly busy at that time because of hundreds of people looking for the best spot. If you intend to join, you should get there early around 4.00 – 4.30 P.M.
- Although the way up to top is paved and does not require lots of physical effort, it might be not a spot for people who have issues with mobility. Instead, you will have plenty of amazing spots along the two rivers to watch the sun go down.
- As the weather is quite hot in Laos, you should ring a bottle of water to drink during climb up. A hat and mosquito repellent are also useful
- To have nice view, you may go up by the longer route, then go down by the shorter one.