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Why Wat Long Khoun is special ?
Wat Long Khoun, with its tiny sim, was in fact a very important place in the old royal days. It was the custom for the kings of Luang Prabang to come to the temple for a retreat just before their coronation.
The temple once served as a sanctuary for those seeking spiritual rejuvenation including any new king who would retreat to the Wat for three days cleansing and meditation prior to his coronation at Wat Xieng Thong.
Built in the 18th century and recently restored in 1995, Wat Long Khoun is located on the west bank of the Mekong River. A front porch was added to the existing Sim in 1937. The walls inside the Sim are covered with elaborate painted murals of the Buddha's life. An unusually long, narrow building located on the wat compound was formerly used for meditation by monks and kings on special occasions.
Source : http://www.seasite.niu.edu
What to explore at Wat Long Khoun?
Few tourists and even fewer local residents seem to bother crossing the Mekong River to the Xiang Men district on the other side. The village of Xiang Men itself is a rather sleepy place, and there are several temples around the village to explore.
The front section is an extended portico added during the reign of King Sisavonvang in 1937. It has attractive gilded lotus-capped columns and a nicely carved wooden pediment with floral spirals and graceful figures with pointed tiaras. Under the portico and on the faï¿½ade of the sim, one unexpectedly finds two historic and large bearded Chinese guardians flanking the main entry.
The wat also contains a rich variety of other structures. Most of were restored in the mid-1990s. There are six kutis, living quarters for the monks. They are of mixed traditional wooden styles and a number are raised on customary pilings. The earlier masonry stairs were reincorporated into most of these buildings. There is also a long narrow windowless structure near the sim that served as a meditation room for kings, their male relatives, monks and others.
The small sim is fronted by an unusually large veranda, which probably served as a sala. The single entrance to the sim is guarded by murals depicting two large Chinese warriors.
Around the compound are several large elevated monk's cells (kuti). The brick and plaster stairways leading up to the upper level are moss-encrusted, giving the place an air of stately decay, even though it was extensively restored in 1995.
Source : http://asiaforvisitors.com
How to get to Wat Long Khoun?
You can take a boat from the landing in front of Wat Xieng Thong directly across the river to the temple.
- A unique temple of its kind
- All focused to tourists
- Live up to half an hour on foot
- Complete peace of mind
- Peaceful and relaxing place
Xiang Men district, Luang Prabang, Laos
Tips for you
We visited Wat Long Khoun during our visit to Chomphet. The entrance fee, which is pretty standard across Laos, is 10 000 kip which is between $1 and $2 Aussie Dollars at the going exchange rate. The Wat is so very peaceful and relaxing and is a well kept and a lovely place to visit. Just be wary not to leave anything on bikes unattended as the little kids try and pickpocket a bit, anything from lollies to mobiles.