Mount Phousi & Wat Chom Si Temple
Luang Prabang, LaosGetting there
Access: You will find a set of steps leading up to the top of Mount Phousi opposite the Royal Palace Museum on Thanon Sisavangvong, and another entrance on Thanon Phousi, near the Hive Bar.Telephone
+856 71 71 212470More information Prices
Entrance fee is 20.000 Kip (US$ 2.60) per person.Opening hours
There are no set opening times, but it is best to visit Mount Phousi during daylight hours. You will have no problem making your descent in the evening after viewing the sunset, however.
You can climb the mountain from 6 am. There is no fixed closing time to allow people to watch the sunset from the top.
Rising 150 metres above the centre of town, Mount Phousi cuts a distinctive figure on the Luang Prabang skyline. The hill is popular as a place to watch the sun rise or set over the Mekong River. From the summit you can enjoy a spectacular 360 degree outlook across the city and its many temples, and out over the surrounding landscape to the mountains in the distance. Count on spending a couple of hours for the climb and descent, with several stops to see the temples, rest under the shady trees and admire the magical views.
There are hundreds of steps to negotiate, but the climb is gentle enough for anyone who is in reasonable health. For a complete experience, go up Mount Phousi on one side and use the other set of steps to make your way down again. You can pray and make offerings at several temples along the way. Next to Wat Chomsi at the top of the hill you can buy flowers to offer for blessings, as well as caged birds. The Laos believe that if you set a bird free you will enjoy good luck and happiness in the future.
Phousi (Sacred Hill) is the geographical as well as spiritual centre of the city. Believed to have once harboured a powerful naga who dwelt in its bowels, the hill is also seen as a miniature Mount Meru, the Mount Olympus of Hindu-Buddhist cosmology. Though there is nothing to see on the hill itself, save for an ancient-looking sim at its foot, Phousi is striking from a distance. Indeed, the golden spires of That Chomsi at its summit are the first glimpse of the city that visitors get if they are arriving by boat or plane. Likewise, the peak affords a stunning panorama of the city it crowns, and the shimmering rivers and jungle-clad mountains beyond are mesmerizing. Viewing the setting sun from the summit of Phousi has become a kind of tourist ritual, so don’t expect to enjoy the moment alone – indeed, early morning is a better time to come, when the city and the hill are more peaceful. A quieter spot from which to watch the sunset is Santi Chedi on a hill due east of Phousi, which affords a marvellous view back towards Phousi, without the crowds.
There are three approaches to the summit. The first and most straightforward is via the stairway directly opposite the main gate of the Royal Palace Museum. The second approach, on the other side of the hill, is up a zigzag stairway flanked by whitewashed naga, and can be used for descending to Phousi Road. The third and most rambling approach is via Wat Pha Phoutthabat near Phousi’s northern foot (across from the Saynamkhan Riverview Hotel).
Most people choose the first ascent, which allows you to first stop at the adjacent Wat Pa Houak. This fine little temple, overlooking Sisavangvong Road and the Royal Palace Museum, has a charmingly weathered facade, but is mainly of interest of its interior murals. Though the French art historian Henri Parmentier once describing them as “ridiculous”, they are in fact fascinating, and appear to depict Luang Prabang as a celestial city. Besides Lao characters in classical costumes, there are Chinese, Persians and Europeans in the city, but it is not clear whether they have come as visitors or invaders. After soaking up the murals it’s a steep climb through a tunnel of shady plumeria trees to the peak.
Two ways to the top
Two stairways lead to the top of the hill. To get the most of the views and shrines, take one up and the other one down. The way up most often used is found on Sisavangvong road, opposite the Royal Palace Museum; 328 steps will get you to the top.
Another stairway is on Thanon Phousi with a total of 355 steps and several viewpoints along the way to the top. At the start of the stairway is a small restaurant with a map showing the various attractions on Phousi Hill. A short climb up the stairs is a display of golden colored Buddha images in several mudras; among them are a Buddha holding an alms bowl, a Buddha image in the calling for rain mudra, a Buddha in the meditation mudra sheltered by the hood of the multi headed serpent Mucalinda, a reclining Buddha and a sitting Buddha surrounded by followers. About halfway up is a small cave temple sometimes called Wat Tham Phousi housing several Buddha images.
On top of the hill is That Chomsi, a golden pagoda topped with a 7 tiered parasol. The slender pagoda is set on a white painted, rectangular base. It was built by King Anourat in 1804. Next to the stupa is a small viharn housing a large seated Buddha image surrounded by smaller ones. The golden That Chomsi atop the hill is visible glittering in the sun from much of Luang Prabang.
Location: Mount Phousi rises above the centre of the old town of Luang Prabang, and is situated between Thanon Sisavangvong and Thanon Phousi. From its peak you can look out over the entire city and beyond, with the Mekong River to the north and the Khan River to the south and east.
Climbing to the top of Phou Si Hill
There are 3 routes of ascent to the Phou Si Hill:
- Access in the street, Sisavangvong Road (the most popular and easiest, opposite the Royal Palace route).
- Access from the street Kingkitsarath Road (to the other side of the Hill, stairs of zig-zag the preferred route of descent)
- Access in the street Kitsalath Road (opposite the hotel Saynamkhan River View, the more difficult route and steep, recommended for the more adventurous).
A rule is often used a way to climb to the top of Phou Si Hill and a different way to lose.
The most popular ascent route to the Phou Si Hill is opposite the Palacio Real Luang Prabang, in calle Sisavangvong Road, since in addition to its excellent location it is one of the most direct ways. The stairs are partially hidden by vegetation, but can be clearly seen from the street, here's the illustrative photo.
View from the top of the Phou Si Hill
After touring the steps rise to the ascension to the top of Phou Si Hill will arrive at the Summit of 100 meters. At the top of the Phou Si Hill we have the incredible views of the city of Luang Prabang.
On one side we have the Nam Khan River and the city of Luang Prabang (the Nam Khan River is easily recognizable by the metal bridge built to unite both shores).
At the opposite end of the river Nam Khan seen from the Phou Si Hill is the Mekong River as it passes through Luang Prabang.
Late in the afternoon, just before dusk, is one of the busiest moments of the Phou Si Hill.
However in the early hours of the morning, time where virtually no visitors, can enjoy quietly from the incredible views of Mount Phousi next to the Wat Chom Si.
Wat Chom If
At the top of the Hill is located Phou Si Buddhist temple Wat Chom if, built in the year 1804 by King Anourat. The structure that can be seen from a distance is a stupa of 24 metres high, rectangular white and decorated by 7 Golden parasol base.
Access to the stupa is prohibited and protected by a gate, stupa can only grant this prayer room next to the stupa.
Next to the stupa is Wat Chom Si Temple, a building in white with the frames of doors and windows in red, pointy ceilings with decorations in gold color.
Inside the temple Wat Chom Si, also called Wat Chomsi, I keep only a Spartan statues of Buddha as an altar with flowers that can be bought at the women sitting at the beginning of the stairs rise in front of the Royal Palace.
Wat Pa Houak
The first flight of stairs for ascent to the Phou Si Hill, at the entrance to the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, situated is a small abandoned temple called Wat Pa Houak.
This temple of the year 1841 formerly served as library for manuscripts, currently little or nothing remains of that, just an altar to Buddha and paintings illustrating traditional life in Laos.
Buddha statues Wat Tham Phu Si
Once travel more than half of the ascent to the Phou Si Hill, previous step by box office, is accessible to Wat Tham Phu if enclosure. This colorful area is decorated by statues of Buddha in golden color.
The best-known statue that was found in Wat Tham Phu Si is the reclining Buddha, whose legend buddha tuesday.
Along with the statues of Buddha Wat Tham Phu Si is a tiny cave with more images inside.
Ruins Wat Pha Phutthabaht
Very close to the top of the Phou Si Hill is the cave Wat Phra Bat Nua, where you will find the footprint of Buddha.
Along with the relic of Buddha, on one side of the stair way, a piece of anti -aircraft artillery, some shells have been converted into planters.
Entrance fee and opening hours of Phou Si Hill
The price of the ticket are 20,000 kip (approx. €2, see) Currency of Laos(), this entrance ticket allows access to the top of the Phou Si Hill (That Phu if) to admire the views of Luang Prabang and also allows access to the grounds of Wat Tham Phu if Buddha statues.
The box office is located at the top of the staircase, allowing free access to travel some temples, such as Wat Pa abandoned temple Houak.
Although officially there is no schedule of opening the Phou Si Hill and Temple Wat Tham Phu Si, the box office is open from 6:00 until Sunset . Where there is no one at the box office, it can be accessed the enclosure without paying entry.
How to get there
You will find a set of steps leading up to the top of Mount Phousi opposite the Royal Palace Museum on Thanon Sisavangvong, and another entrance on Thanon Phousi, near the Hive Bar.
Phousi Hill is located in the center of Luang Prabang. The main stairway up is behind the Royal Palace Museum on Sisavangvong road. Get there either on foot or take a tuk tuk or jumbo for between 10,000 (US$ 1.30) and 15.000 Kip (US$ 2).
Reviews by visitors
Take the stairs that start where the night market sets up, it looks daunting, but even for unfit 50+ year olds, with a few stops you can get to the top, and you won't be disappointed. Terrific views of LP. Take the other stairs down as there are many things to see.
The place gets really crowded around the sunset. Easy to climb with steps located opposite royal palace in the night market street. Good time would be early morning as there would be less crowd. There is an entry fee.
You could see the view of the city itself and also take really nice pictures. There's a handful of mosquitoes that would keep you accompanied too. Tourist flocked there during sunset and the place would be too crowded. Entrance is 20,000 kip and is free after 6pm or 6.30
Really stunning views from the top and a good place to watch sunset. Does get pretty busy around 5.30 for sunset but worth the trip up. Steps all the way up, not too difficult
Pleasant and easy enough walk. Views are somewhat obscured but worth doing. Nothing particularly spectacular so struggling to write the one hundred words for a review... visit if you can but don't feel you've missed out if you don't!
We went up Mount Phousi on a hot evening in June 2016 to see the sunset over Luang Prabang.
Climbing up the 329 steps was so worth it! The view is amazing.
Best time to go up should be early morning, as it is quite crowded from afternoon on. But we enjoyed it anyway.
Two little hints: bring DEET against mosquitoes and a flashlight for the way back (if after sunset), as the steps are not illuminated at night.
This attraction is great not only for the great views but also it is a great form of exercise. There are great views at the top and also very interesting Buddha statues on the way down. I recommend bringing a camera and walking shoes for the 1 - 2 hours trip depending on your fitness.
I hate climbing up but I don't have regrets. I went up twice; 3 yrs ago and last month.
The steps are over 300 but not steep and not hard.
If you go there around sunsetting, you will see a lot of people have taken the best spots, so climb up a bit early with your book or music.
You will see the postcard-like Luang Prabang landcape and sunset if the weather allows.
Went there in May when the sun sets around 6:30 pm..Try and walk up and reach there by 5:30-5:45, as the place gets really crowded as sunset draws closer. The steps to Mt Phousi start from opposite of Royal Palace, and entry fee is 20K Kip (USD 2.5) and take you to the hilltop in about 20-30 minutes deepening on how fit you are. There is a Buddha temple at the hilltop as well.
Went here early morning (after the alms giving, so we arrived around 7-8am) - it was gorgeous at this time! Mist over the mountains, great views and hardly any people.
Heard it gets crowded here at sunset. So glad we opted for early morning.
Yes they over-price the short climb (you have to pay 20,000kip), but its nice to do at least once.
Take the back stairs (not the street with the night market the street behind) as you walk up the steps (appox 400 to the very top) your greeted with many buddhas and great views of the city. Once you get nearer to the top it's 20,000 kip, we were told to cover up but many tourists didn't and weren't asked to. Our guesthouse suggested going at 5pm as sun sets by approx 7pm. This was perfect, chance to see the views and sites on the way up. At the top it gets quite busy for people watching the sunset, but a great view, worth it. On you way down exit via the front ready to explore the night market and get a great view of the Palace/National Museum
After climbing the steps, which can be tiring in summer heat, the view of the UNESCO heritage town of Luang Prabang is nice. The view of evening sunset and the glimmer in the Mekong is beautiful.
Maybe the weather didn't cooperate for us but we didn't see much of a sunset. It was so crowded we didn't really enjoy it.
The temples coming up and going down are worth it though - best reclining Buddha I've seen so far!
We came during sunset, too many people made it hard to take nice photos, the view was beautiful but not exceptional. It was cloudy when we went so the sunset was not that nice. It was dangerous to go down without a flash light because the winding stairs had no lights at all and it was pitch black. The entrance fee was 20,000 kip and one would expect at least a few lights. You might be better off watching the sunset at the Mekong River for free.
Amazing scenery after a quite long hike to the top. In between, you will find a temple or two and many Buddha statues. But all the hikes pay out. Breathtaking view!
Absolutely beautiful, but its a cheek that someone at the bottom charges you 20,000 kip each 5-6.30pm because of the sunset! Be prepared to sweats its a long old way to the top!
Was drenched in sweat after climbing hundreds of steps. But was rewarded with overviews of the city. Many Buddha statues scatter around the hill as well. I wish I could take a selfie with the monks though.
The walk up it self doesn't take more than 25 minutes or so - but with the high temperature is harder than I thought. You pay a little fee to make the walk. On top is it's a fab view over LP for sure. But the advice I can give is to stop by some of the temple schools & talk to the monks. It's very rewarding & actually very much fun! Make a donation if you can.
This was worth bearing the heat and stairs. Great views of the city and river. Not too expensive to get up here, and worth it.
We got to the top just in time for a storm. The scenery in LP is amazing and viewing from the mount gives a greater understanding of the size of the city (pretty small). The view is no good for sunset however; there are trees in the way.
Climb the stairs to the temple from North - from the old quarter - as you can get to the top bypassing the other Buddhas (unless that's your thing) and avoid paying a 20,000 kip viewing fee per person.
We didn't go up for sunrise but given the location of the mount and the view, we think this could look pretty special.
This place is worth your money and sweat ! Just around 200 climbs up the stairs, you will enjoy the 360° view of Luang Prabang. The mountain layers are so impressed.
Great place for sunset viewing, loves the view from Mount Phousi. You'll have to climb a short flight of stairs, and there're entrance fees just like most attractions.
Overall one of the best places to visit in Luang Prabang! Be sure to head up earlier to grab a good place for sunset as it will get pretty crowded.
Nothing fabulous about climbing up the hundred of steps but the view of the Mekong River, Nam Khan River and the town of Luang Prabang should satisfy the purpose. Remember to check out the Buddhas on the other side of the Stupa when you descend the stairs towards the Nam Khan River.
The walk up to the mountain is tough but worth it for the views of Luang Prabang. You have to pay 20,000 kip to go to walk up to the temple at the top which isn't that impressive but the views make it worthwhile.
Phousi at sunset is a tourist trap. Since it became clear that tourists will pay for pretty much anything, they began charging to climb up to a stupa and take in a view - but only at sunset hours. I advise you to do as locals do and avoid at sunset. Between 5 - 6pm it was unbearably crowded so there was barely space to stand and tempers flared as people jostled and got in the way of the 'perfect' photo, etc. It was not a very nice spirit of quiet contemplation and beautiful pictures that you might be expecting (and that the Lao locals might wish to have back from the days before the 2 wheeled suitcase brigade descended). The sunset itself was pretty (aren't all sunsets?) but nowhere near as spectacular as Bagan or most Thai islands. There are also nicer places to view the LP sunset, but these thankfully aren't on TA! Hint: cross the bamboo bridge!!
Not so special but you can go for sunset and then stroll around the night market. We didn't want to climb more for the temple and stayed at the view deck and enjoy the sunset
Steep but not incredibly long climb to the top. Get there a bit earlier because lots of other people have the same idea and all the best viewing seats will be taken. Great view of the Mekong river and surrounding hills
Just anda little warning, you won't get asked to pay what is currently (15/5/16) the 20,000 Kip entry fee until you've climbed fully a third up the side of the hill so you've been warned. Good views at the top and they've still got the remains of an American anti-aircraft gun sitting up on the top together with a view Buddha figures and a walkway that will enable you to take about a 300 degree series of pictures from the top including across the river to the countryside beyond and pictures of the Nam Kham river before it joins the Menam Kong.
Nice bit of evening exercise is rewarded with stunning views. I am so glad I did this. Coming down was a bit hard on the knees. I recommend an $5 foot massage afterwards.
I got there around 5pm. The view from the top of the mountain to the riverside is beautiful.
From there, you got 2 side view of the bending river. 1 side to view sunset. 1 side to view the bamboo bridge.
You can see the sun going down and disappearing slowly behind far mountains.
It is a little bit crowded there. And the weather is so hot in May.
Ticket price 20k kip.
The bamboo brige passing the river can be view in morning, monks are going to learn morning lessons this way. It can also be viewed in the nearby Road.
A short pre-dawn climb avoids the 'touristy' feel as only dedicated people get up to greet the sun.
Sadly, the crop and forest fires spoilt a good view. The smoke haze prevented any distance vision and the rest of the 'view' is marginally Ok. Very ordinary. Go up via the southern path and come down towards the City centre. The 'Buddha' icons are too ill-treated to be worth a look. As is the poorly maintained 'facility' itself. A coat of paint would work wonders.
Obviously oriented to tourism. Maybe worthwhile at the right time (or season?)
..not for this little boy's bucket list...
I climbed up phousi hill at around 4plus pm. It was a tiring hike due to the really hot weather(38 degrees) but overall it was worthwhile because of the view and the lack of crowd at that time.
However, I noticed that there were tourists buying the little cages to free the birds. It's supposed to be a symbol of good luck but most tourists are doing this because they wanted to free the birds. Not a big issue to be honest. But after noticing a few of them attempting to free the birds, i realised the birds never actually flew away. They usually just fly to the nearest tree and that's it. I remembered reading someone's review saying that the birds might be trained and I highly think so as well. I have also seen a few nest in the trees as well.
Just thought others should be aware of what they are contributing to when they pay to free the birds.
We decided to go up to the top of mount Phousi shortly after we arrived in Luang Prabang, so we could a good view of the place and work out where everything was.
It is worth the climb (about 300 steps) & the small entrance fee, as the views are stunning and once at the top you will also see That Chomsi - a small golden stupa, which is very pretty.
We did this in the afternoon, but it was still very hot - take plenty of water and take your time, as the scenery on the way up is lovely too - leafy and garden like.
We went to the top of mount Phousi for sunset and were very disappointed by what we seen. 20,000kp to experience too many tourists and locals crammed at the top, making it extremely stuffy in the heat and just not enjoyable. The area is super small and not as visually pleasing as we had expected, the view is decent if you can see past everyone else and their ridiculous selfie sticks. Side note - My Girlfriend and I were trying to take pictures, minding our own business when we noticed a local taking photos of us (our breasts) while acting inappropriately towards us as well, when asked to stop, he did not, which made us very uncomfortable. Also be mindful of your valuables.
This temple was absolutely beautiful! The views, the serenity and the fresh air is all so perfect for a morning walk and relax. I admit that the stairs up to the top are quite hard and require a good break after, but thats perfect because there are seating areas up the top. I would not recommend buying the little birds in a cage to free up the top, because I think they're trained to fly back to the seller and they will sell the bird again, so you may just be putting your money towards something not very nice, but I'm not 100% sure. I wouldn't know if thats the case or not. Overall a really calming and refreshing experience
200+ steps from near the palace get you to the beautiful views from Mount Phousi. Take the alternative steps down to see the many buddahs and other statues. Well worth the effort!
The hike up to Mount Phousi takes less than 15 minutes, but is a decent cardio workout. You'll stop about halfway up to buy a ticket for 20,000 kp (less than $3 USD). The view at the top is spectacular on a clear day. You can see the whole city from above as well as the surrounding mountains and up and down both rivers. In the early morning it's still peaceful. I wouldn't wait too long or the tourist groups will ascend! My advice is don't bother to shower or put on clean clothes before you go. You'll be drenched by the time you get down!
I've done this hike twice and the only reason I did it a second time was that the group I was with the second time forced me to go. Having said that, it does provide a unique experience and amazing views. My first visit to Luang Prabang, I was very excited to do this as it is one of those things one should do while here. Be forewarned, it is not an easy hike to the top as the weather is usually very hot and humid. I'm very fit and by the end of this my knees were a little achey. Once at the top you'll be rewarded with magnificent 360 degree views of Luang Prabang. There's a little temple at the top and there are a few vendors selling water (as another visitor stated, you should probably have water before the ascent). We started our hike on the village side (where the main road in Luang Prabang where they have the night market), and our descent was down the hill on the other side. I recommend this as the hike up you just want to get there. Whereas the hike down on the other side, there are little stops with Buddha statues and a cave where there are Buddha statues within, and also the Buddha "print" (where it is said Buddha either put his hand or foot print in the side of the cave). The only thing is when you come down this side of the hill, you have to trek a little ways to get back to town but I still believe it's worth it. Any time of day is fine to visit, just be aware of the heat during mid day and it is not that easy of a climb in that type of weather. But definitely do it at least once.
We climbed Mt Phousi after giving alms to the monks early in the morning. The many many stairs were worth the climb, as we had a splendid and clear view of Luang Prabang, the convergence of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, as well as the beautiful lush landscape that hugged this quaint town. Highly recommended.
This is a must if you are in Luang Prabang, the views are pretty good especially if you go during sunset, although it can get pretty hot and sweaty by the time you get up the mount.
Buy some water before you start the climb, prices at the top are a rip off.
Be forewarned, the ascent is steep up the mountain and if your not fit, its recommended not to go up (at least to the top). But when your up top, the views are just amazing...just be prepared for that dude sitting at the side waiting for you to pay up while your all sweaty from the walk up.Other than that inconvenient moment, this Mount Phousi has alot to offer in terms of buddha statues and a mini temple up top. Theres also refreshments up there but be forwarned though, drinks are expensive as hell. So I suggest buying it down at the bottom and backpack it up with you to save money. But if you dont wanna pay for the entrance fee, go up there after 6pm because the gate guy up top goes home. This place is recommended if your ready from sweaty excercise while seeing cool stuff.
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