Photo Moment: The Golden Stupa of Vientiane

Pha That Luang - The Golden Stupa

The Golden Stupa (Pha That Luang Temple) in Vientiane is the most magnificent stupa in Laos and also one of the most recognizable. The ashes of kings of different dynasties and accomplished monks are preserved here, and it is believed to hold a relic of the Lord Buddha. It is the national symbol and pride of Laos, and a symbol of both Buddhist religion in Cambodia and sovereignty in Laos.

The 45 meters tall golden stupa was built in 1566 when the country’s capital city was moved to Vientiane from Luang Prabang. It is the site of worship by monks and other devout Buddhists throughout the year.

The  biggest annual event of the year, the That Luang Festival, is held in November. It takes place on the full moon of November and lasts for seven days and seven nights. The festival opens with a procession of hundreds of monks. They visit the stupa to receive alms and votives early in the morning of the first day. The festivities continue throughout the week and end with offerings of banana leaves and flowers, which are placed reverently upon the temple.

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Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian who has been living in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. I'm an experienced businesswoman and have worked in many leadership positions in Asia. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. I started writing about my health journey in 2009 after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, which came with other massive health issues. These diagnoses were the start of my journey as a health advocate and patient leader. Since then, My Several Worlds has been recognized worldwide as a top site for AS, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness by WEGO Health and Healthline.

4 thoughts on “Photo Moment: The Golden Stupa of Vientiane


    (March 22, 2009 - 3:17 pm)

    Nice shot!The Stupa really stands out. Taken at the right time too, which gave the perfect tone for the Golden Stupa.


      (March 25, 2009 - 9:57 am)

      Hey Nivin,
      Sunsets are definitely the bewitching hour. They make all the difference in how a photo turns out. This photo doesn’t do it justice. The stupa looked like it was bathed in gold when we arrived. It was incredible!

    Expatriate Games

    (March 24, 2009 - 2:46 pm)

    Who you callin’ stupa?

    Hey the exposure here is spot on. Did you have to enhance that sky any? I appreciate the cultural-history lesson too. I really have to travel more.


      (March 25, 2009 - 10:14 am)

      Ha ha! This was taken with my little point and shoot at dusk. I didn’t do anything to enhance it. It’s really too bad. I looked at a lot of other photos of the Golden Stupa and there don’t seem to be a lot of good ones out there. Unfortunately, this one is too small to do anything with – other than impress all of you. It’s weird. All my photos from Laos turned out really really well. It just goes to show you what you can achieve without the fancy gear.

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