That Luang (Vientiane Great Stupa)
That Luang or the Great Stupa in Vientiane is considered as the most sacred monument in Laos and a national symbol – it can even be seen in the country’s official seal. Its high walls makes it look more like a fortress from the outside, and it features two main temples with the main stupa, the top of which stands 148 feet tall and is covered with gold leaf.
That Luang features beautiful Lao style architecture that is influenced by Buddhist beliefs. This includes finely gilded, red lacquer doors, pointed lesser stupas, a number of Buddha images, and stunning flower and animal images.
That Luang lies approximately four kilometres northeast of the Vientiane city centre, on Thanon That Luang.
Opening Days and Hours
That Luang is open daily from 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:00.
Entry Fee and Bookings
That Luang tickets cost LAK 10,000 (USD 1.20), while long skirt rental in order to enter the temple costs LAK 5,000 (USD 0.60).
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach That Luang is via a rented tuk tuk, which will cost around LAK 60,000 (USD 7.21).
- Backpackers/solo travelers
- Group of friends
- Families with older kids
Time to Spend
You can explore That Luang in two hours or half a day.
Popularity and Best Time to Go
The best time to visit That Luang is in November – when the Boun That Luang festival is held. This is a major event held at the stupa that is composed of beautiful parades and live music – perfect for tourists to enjoy and experience the religious atmosphere. During regular days, the best time to visit is between 9:00 to 10:30 in the morning.
- The Three Levels of That Luang
- Hor Dhammasabha Buddhist Convention Hall
- Palace Wat Neua Thatluang
- Inner Temple Pha That Luang
You can buy food and water within the That Luang grounds, and a number of food stalls and souvenir shops can be found outside the walled area.
Safety and Fraud
General safety guidelines apply when visiting That Luang, such as keeping an eye out for your belongings and not being too flashy. Keep mosquito repellants on hand as Dengue is a real risk.
- Vat Si Saket – city’s oldest monastery
- Ho Phra Keo – former royal temple
- Patouxay – inspired by Paris’ Arc de Triomphe
- That Dam – Black Stupa
- Nam Phou market
Accommodations near That Luang include a number of backpackers’ accommodations and hotels, such as the Sihome Backpackers Garden Hostel and Green Park Boutique Hotel. Prices range from USD 13 to USD 164 per night.
Good to Know
The top tip for visiting That Luang is to come during the Boun That Luang Festival in November, and to not make do with the sights outside and pay the entrance fee in order to enjoy a number of hand-painted artworks.