At the northeastern base of Phou Si hill is the very active temple of Wat Pra Buddhabaht - 'Temple of the Buddha Footprint'. We need to point out that it's very active because Lonely Planet describes it as being in ruins.
The sim of Wat Pra Buddhabaht
The Buddha's footprint alluded to in the temple's name is located in a grotto about halfway up the hill. It is reached from the temple via a stairway which starts in front of the temple's imposing sim (ordination hall). The footprint itself is an artificial construction common to Buddhist temples in Laos and Thailand, although this one is more realistic than most.
The temple was first built in the late fourteenth century, but most of the structures are little more than 100 years old. In addition to the sim, several funerary stupas dot the compound and the side of the hill. There's also an old wiharn at one edge of the complex.
Wat Pra Buddhabaht is practically in the very center of town. It can be reached via one of the narrow walkways leading off the main Sisavong Vang Road, right in the middle of the main shopping and dining area. I happened to wander into the temple one evening around dusk, just as the monks were beginning their evening prayers. The tall slender sim resonated the prayers nicely through the courtyard in the cool evening air.