Discover Wat Long Khoun - Luang Prabang
If a spiritual journey is what you’re after, Trip Guru suggests heading to Wat Long Khoun in Luang Prabang, Laos. Just a short boat ride from the busy city center, this historic Buddhist temple offers colorful sites and a quiet atmosphere that has served as a retreat center for numerous Luang Prabang kings.
It’s a mystery why only few of the tourists in Luang Prabang ever venture out to Xiang Men district where Wat Long Khoun and many other temples are located. However, the lack of crowd works best for travelers who wish to bask in the serene atmosphere surrounding the area. Despite having a small sim or ordination hall, Wat Long Khoun held a special purpose for the royal family of Luang Prabang. Before every coronation, the new king is must retreat to the temple to cleanse, meditate, and seek spiritual rejuvenation for three days. In addition to its rich past, the temple also attracts visitors with its colorful murals. The most famous of these murals is found in the sim and depicts the 547 previous lives of Buddha. Six wooden kutis or living quarters for monks can also be seen on the temple grounds.
While a tourist destination, it is important to bear in mind Wat Long Khoun is still being used as a temple of great importance. Practice respectful silence during a visit to the grounds, and remember to cover bare shoulders and arms and to remove sunglasses and footwear before entering the temple premises. If you wish to explore other nearby attractions such as the Wat Tham Xieng Men cave complex, Wat Xieng Thong where the Luang Prabang kings were traditionally crowned, and Wat Chompet, make sure that you take a mountain bike with you when you cross from the Luang Prabang side.
Wat Long Khoun is open daily from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. The temple is set on the west bank of the Mekong River and may be reached by taking a boat ride from the ferry dock just down the main intersection of Luang Prabang. The ferry ride costs about 16,000 Kip. The entrance to the temple costs about 8,000 Kip.