Wat Phu, Champasak, Laos

Wat Phu, a Khmer Hindu temple complex dating from the 11th to 13th centuries and Laos’s most famous ruin, is worth a visit for the verdant open setting, striking carvings and lack of other tourists.

With temperatures reaching nearly 100 in the afternoon and humidity to match, we wanted to be at the ruins as early as possible. We arrived when they opened at 8 and were the first tourists of the day. The place isn’t popular and we didn’t see anyone else until closer to 9.

Despite the few structures left standing, the site covers a large area with a 1.5 walk to the lower structures and a climb up steep narrow steps to get to the upper levels. A handy shuttle service, included in the ticket price, will transport you from the entrance to the bottom of the ruins.

A lake in front of the temple reflects the mountain and sky.

The middle level and the top level, the sanctuary, have some structures still standing with impressive carvings. In early November at first light the verdant hillside and rich brown walls pop against the blue sky. Truly best in morning light as the site sits on an east facing slope.

It took us about an hour and half to walk through, snapping photos and looking for the artifacts listed in Lonely Planet. I doubt that this site will wow you especially if you have already been to Angor Wat, but it’s a pretty and historic place to stroll without the crowds of the more popular sites.

More Photos:

November 9, 2018

For links to all the posts in this series see the Laos/Cambodia page.