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