Mount Phou Si - Luang Prabang

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Sunset at Mount Phou Si overlooking the Mekong River and the mountains.

However you get to Luang Prabang, whether by slow boat or, like us, by night bus, one of the first activities will be to explore Phou Si mountain, about 100 meters high, in the center of the city. Especially the sunset is magical and offers a good view of the surrounding area and a first impression of Laos.

View from Mount Phou Si of the surrounding area and the city of Luang Prabang.

On a peninsula, which is surrounded by the two rivers Mekong and Nam Khan, rises the densely overgrown hill. By the way, Phou Si means holy mountain, and at the top of the hill there is a 20 meter high golden stupa, which you can already see at the beginning of your short hike. However, Wat Chom Si is only a secondary matter for most visitors, because many gladly accept the path with the approximately 300 steps to enjoy the 360° panorama.

A woman stands on a staircase at Mount Phou Si and smiles into the camera.
A golden standing Buddha figure at Mount Phou Si in the morning.

To get up there are two ways. One is from Sisavongvang Street, where the city's daily night market is located, up to the temple. On the opposite side, you can also pilgrimage up from Kingkitsarath Street via tens of steps. The second option is in our eyes the more beautiful, the path is decorated with many Buddha statues. But no matter which option you choose, about half of it requires an entrance fee of 20,000 Kip (~ 1 $). After about 10 minutes we can already catch a first glimpse of the surrounding hills. Slowly they turn orange and it is only a few meters to the actual plateau with the fantastic view.

Slowly the sun sinks over the city of Luang Prabang and Mount Phou Si.
Sunset at Mount Phou Si with the Mekong River and the surrounding mountains.
Profile shot of a blond man on Mount Phou Si.
Sunset at Mount Phou Si with the Mekong River and the surrounding mountains.

A few visitors are already milling around here. We can just get a good place before countless other people rush in. Soon they besiege the base of the golden stupa. Please remember that it is not only a viewpoint, but also a Buddhist temple! For the behavior of some tourists was out of place during our visit. Out of respect for the culture and the locals who offer sacrifices at Mount Phou Si, for example, a suitable dress code should be observed, among other things.

A 20 meter high and golden stupa at Mount Phou Si.
A monk stands on a rock at sunset and has his picture taken.

The sun slowly disappears behind the mountains on the horizon, bathing the Mekong River and the city in an orange light. It is understandable that this spot is so popular, because the sight is truly breathtaking. But it's also worth getting up early for the sunrise. Then you have Mount Phou Si almost to yourself, because at this time only a few visitors stray onto the mountain.

The moon in the early morning over Mount Phou Si.
Slowly the sun illuminates the surrounding area and the city of Luang Prabang.

No matter what time you choose, Mount Phou Si is a must-see during your visit to Luang Prabang and the perfect start for the days ahead. A scooter is already waiting for us, because we want to cross the river and explore the Green Jungle Park, about 45 minutes away.

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