Phou Si Moutain

Phou Si Moutain– The Best Place to Admire Stunning Sunsets in Luang Prabang, Laos

Phou Si is a famous tourist spot in Luang Prabang, often referred to as “If you haven’t been to Phou Si, you haven’t been to Luang Prabang.” So, is this mountain really that special? To find out the answer, let’s explore Phou Si Mountain in this article.

I. Information about Phou Si Mountain

Phou Si Mountain is one of the tallest mountains in the center of Luang Prabang city, with an altitude of about 100 meters. Standing at this height, you’ll have a spectacular 360-degree view, taking in the entire Luang Prabang cityscape alongside the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.

On this hill, you’ll also find temples and Buddha statues scattered throughout. The highest point on the mountain is Wat Chom Si (Chom Si Temple), which also marks the start of the New Year’s procession of Laos. Additionally, there’s a golden stupa called Psita on the mountain’s peak, and at the foot of the hill, you’ll find the Royal Palace. With everything that tourists can discover on Phou Si Mountain, it has become one of the major tourist attractions in Luang Prabang. The mountain is not so high that it’s inaccessible; it only takes over 300 steps to reach the summit.

The best time to climb the mountain is during sunset, when Luang Prabang reveals itself in the beautiful twilight. Along the path to the top of Phou Si Mountain, you’ll come across several temples, Buddha statues, and even caves. This makes the journey more pleasant and interesting as you stop to catch your breath and admire the temples and statues.

Phou Si Mountain

Standing atop the mountain, you’ll see houses in the city peeking out from behind rows of trees, neatly arranged streets, and coconut trees swaying over the red-tiled roofs. Lovely spires like shrines and two-story buildings stand half-hidden in dense foliage. On one side is the Nam Khan River, easily recognizable by the large bridge crossing it. On the opposite side of the Nam Khan River flows the Mekong River as it passes through Luang Prabang.

During late afternoon, just before sunset, is one of the liveliest moments on Phou Si Mountain. However, in the early hours of the morning, when there are hardly any tourists around, you can quietly enjoy the unusual view of Phou Si Mountain next to Wat Chom Si.


II. Temples and Buddha Statues on and near Phou Si Mountain

  1. Remains of Wat Siphoutthabath

Close to the summit of Phou Si Mountain is Wat Siphoutthabath, where you’ll find the footprint of Lord Buddha. Wat Siphoutthabath is a beautiful temple located in the center of Luang Prabang city. The temple is intricately adorned with various decorations and Buddhist-themed imagery. You can ascend Phou Si Mountain from a staircase near this temple.

  1. Wat Pa Houak

Wat Pa Houak serves as the starting point for another path leading to the summit of Phou Si Mountain (beside the temple is a trail leading to the summit of Phou Si Mountain). Wat Pa Houak is located across from the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang and is a small abandoned temple.

  1. Wat Pa Houak

This temple was constructed by Phaya Si Mahanam in 1861, during the reign of King Chantharath (1850-1872). Pa Houak used to house many historical manuscripts; however, currently, it only contains a few Buddha statues and an altar for Lord Buddha, along with illustrations depicting traditional life in Laos.

  1. Wat Chom Si

At the top of the hill stands Wat Chom Si, a Buddhist temple built in 1804 by King Anourat. Its prominent structure, visible from a distance, is a 24-meter-high stupa. The base of the stupa is painted in white and the upper part shines in brilliant gold. Beside the stupa is Wat Chom Si Temple, a white building with red-framed windows and doors, featuring yellow-gilded ornamental patterns on its pointed ceiling.

Phou Si Mountain

  1. Buddha Statues

As you ascend Phou Si Mountain, you’ll come across Buddha statues of various sizes and shapes along the way. These statues are intricately and realistically carved, adding visual appeal to the journey. Observing both the scenery along the path and the captivating Buddha statues will make conquering Phou Si Mountain more enjoyable and effortless than ever.


III. The Path to the Summit of Phou Si Mountain

While there are various routes to climb Phou Si Mountain, all of them involve walking and ascending a rather lengthy mountain staircase.

The first entrance is on Sisavangvong Road, next to Wat Pa Houak. This is the most popular and easiest route, opposite the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang. The second entrance is from Kingkitsarath Road on the other side of the hill. This route involves a winding path with small, narrow steps. Tourists often choose to ascend using one route and descend using the other to fully explore Phou Si Mountain.

Phou Si Mountain

IV. Entrance Fee and Opening Hours of Phou Si Mountain

The ticket price is 20,000 kip (about 50,000 VND), granting you access to the summit of Phou Si Mountain to enjoy the panoramic view of Luang Prabang and explore the temples and Buddha statues on the mountain.

Ticket booths located at the foot of the mountain usually open from 6 AM until sunset. In case there’s no one at the ticket booth, you can still ascend Phou Si Mountain without purchasing a ticket.

Note: During sunset, the summit of Phou Si Mountain can be quite crowded, so it’s advisable to climb early to secure a good spot. If you desire a more serene and peaceful atmosphere, visit during the early morning hours to admire the sunrise.

Each day, thousands of visitors climb Phou Si Mountain to witness its breathtaking sunset view. Anyone who visits Luang Prabang makes it a point to explore this mountain. Thus, it’s not an exaggeration to say, “If you haven’t been to Phou Si, you haven’t been to Luang Prabang.” If you have the chance to travel to Laos, be sure to visit this fantastic sunset viewing spot.