Discover Wat Si Muan - Vientiane
When traveling, a lot of people love add significant and awe inspiring locations in their list of must-see destinations. From gorgeous beaches that offer scenic landscapes to crumbling monuments hidden within the country’s lush vegetation, visitors are always left with amazement and feel as if their souls have been reawakened. Temples, on the other hand, are not always in the top three go-to places, but there are a handful of travelers who have seen the worth of being inside a religious structure and share the feeling of ultimate peace with local devotees. In the city of Vientiane, Laos, there is one particular building that holds a powerful force to the Laotians, and it is called the Wat Si Muang.
Built in the year 1563, Wat Si Muang is a Buddhist temple located near the eastern entrance of Vientiane’s city center. For the locals, this marvelous structure is the most popular site of worship, which has perfectly blended the old animist beliefs and Theravada Buddhism. Locals believe that this temple has the power to grant their wishes or answer the questions that have been troubling them. They would lift off a pillow three times while chanting their question or request, and if they are answered, they are supposed to return bearing offerings such as: bananas, flowers, green coconuts, and incense and candles – which all come in twos.
Though the structure of Wat Si Muang looks plain, there are a lot of sculptures and marvelous structures found within the temple and its surroundings. Located in the rear hall is the pillar wrapped in sacred cloth, which is then being watched over by a carved wooden stele with a seated Buddha in relief. There is a decaying stupa behind the sǐm, in which devotees deposit their broken images and pottery around the base – so the spirits of the stupa will “heal” the bad luck; and lastly, the numerous Buddha images scattered in the area.
Wat Si Muang is open daily from 6:00AM to 7:00PM but operating till 10:00PM during special days. To get here, travelers can follow Thanon Setthathirath and walk east towards the Friendship Bridge. Go past La Leela Hotel, and you will see the temple at the other side of the street.
What our experts tell about this experience.
Wat Si Muan is beautiful, with plenty of sculptures and beautiful designs. Learning about Buddhism filled me with a sense of inner peace and awe, and it feels as if my very soul was happy that I went, as well. You should bring a friend along to make the experience more fun.