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 small sim of Wat Long Khoun.

One of the closest temples to the river is Wat Long Khoun. You can take a boat from the landing in front of Wat Xieng Thong directly across the river to the temple.

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 porch of the sim with its mural around the entrance.

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.

The large monk's quarters of the temple.

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.

Near Wat Long Khoun is a cave temple, Wat Tham Xieng Maen, which nowadays stores old and damaged Buddha images. It is generally only open during the Lao New Year.

On a hill above Wat Long Khoun is Wat Chom Phet. The view from here at sunset can be quite spectacular.