A trip to Southern Laos may be the remedy you need to clear your mind. Hassle and bustle just does not exist down there. Instead, you’ll have to deal with laid back and relaxation. That’s great a great cure for anybody in need of a break. Before you make your way down there, we advise you to stop over at Wat Phou and appreciate a little bit of the region’s history.
Wat Phou is an ancient temple complex in Southern Laos in Champasak province, about six kilometers away from the Mekong River and on the foot of Phou Kao Mountain. It has been a UNESCO Heritage site since 2002.
Did you know that Wat Phou is over 1600 years old? Well, there was a temple on the site as early as the 5th century. The structures that are remaining though, have been around since the 11th century. Still not bad. That’s about a millennium old. It was also believed the Wat Phou was once a part of the city that was built out of wood, which unfortunately did not pass the test of time.
The surrounding area consists of geometrically positioned temples, shrines and waterworks covering an area of about 10 kilometers. Like most Khmer structures, Wat Phou was initially a Hindu place of worship. Traces of Hinduism can be seen today such as the presence of a linga (a symbol for the worship of the deity Shiva) and lintels depicting several Hindu gods. But as Buddhism spread throughout the region and the Khmers started embracing the religion, it eventually became a Buddhist temple.
There certainly is nothing like a peaceful boat trip through Laos with sufficient time to explore one of Laos’s oldest temples. Think about it. You’re cruising along the peaceful and slow moving Mekong River, its banks rich in biodiversity and rural life. And just upriver is one of the Khmer Empire’s religious treasures, Wat Phou. In addition, you’ll also get to bask in that famous 4000 Island atmosphere that everyone knows about and would like to be a part of.
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