Temples of Laos: Wat Si Saket in Vientiane

Sitting opposite the Presidential Palace on the corner of Avenue Lang Xang and Setthathirat Road is Vientiane’s oldest standing temple – Wat Si Saket. Although the nearby Haw Phra Keo is known as the oldest temple in the city by dating back to the 16th century, it has been destroyed several times.

Entrance to Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

The entrance to Wat Si Saket

Built in 1818 by the last King of the Lan Xang Kingdom, Wat Si Saket has never been destroyed, even during the sacking of the city when the Siamese army invaded in 1827. The temple was built in the Thai style architecture, rather than Lao, which is perhaps what saved it. The Siamese used it as their headquarters when they destroyed the rest of the city, therefore making Wat Si Saket the oldest standing temple in Vientiane.

The Viharn at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

The Viharn (main shrine) inside Wat Si Saket – no photos are allowed inside, but it is covered in some very old Buddhist artwork.

The temple has many beautiful features from its shady gardens and verandas to its five tier roofed Viharn, but the most known feature of Wat Si Saket is its cloister walls which contain literally thousands of Buddha images and statues, dating from as early as the 16th century. Apparently there are around 6800 Buddha images all up, and it is quite a sight to see. They range from large sitting Buddhas which line the walls to tiny figures that sit in the little alcoves behind them.

Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

The courtyard inside the cloister walls, with the viharn (left) in the centre

Buddhas line the walls of Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

Buddhas of all sizes line the walls of Wat Si Saket

Buddhas at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

A large Buddha stands in front of a wall containing thousands of smaller ones

Alcoves containing Buddhas at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

Tiny alcoves in the walls contain more tiny Buddha figures made from wood, stone and bronze

A Hang Hod at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

A “Hang Hod” – A wooden carved trough carved in the form of a Naga, used for water blessings

Ancient Buddha relics at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

More old Buddhist relics at Wat Si Saket

Buddha statues at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos

Buddhas line every wall of Wat Si Saket

This is one temple that I could wander around for hours.

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2 comments… add one
  • Cindy May 18, 2015

    Wow! That’s really pretty amazing. I’m planning to travel there this fall and will have to see this for myself! Thanks for the great images.

    • Dean Wickham Jun 19, 2015

      Hi Cindy. yes, definitely check out Wat Si Saket if you head to Vientiane. It is one of the best sites in the city. Enjoy your trip!

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