Luang’s Prabang’s That Chomsi

LUANG PRABANG, Laos — That Chomsi is at the top of a hill overlooking the old section of UNESCO World Heritage Site Luang Prabang, offering wonderful views out over the town, nearby wats, Mekong, and the region.

It’s a steep climb up to That Chomsi. But from the stupa at the summit, there’s a wonderful view out over Luang Prabang and the Mekon. At least, there is when the weather is clear.

It’s just across the street from where the morning market sets up, and it’s here that Luang Prabang’s Lao new year procession starts each April.

The buildings here are relatively new, dating back to 1804, and it was restored in 1914. As you climb the many steps you’ll pass several spots where locals have laid out offerings.

Photos of That Chomsi

That Chomsi in Luang Prabang
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Luang Prabang Wat Phra That Chomsi View
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
That Chomsi in Luang Prabang
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Luang Prabang Wat Phra That Chomsi
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
That Chomsi in Luang Prabang
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
That Chomsi in Luang Prabang
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
That Chomsi in Luang Prabang
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
That Chomsi in Luang Prabang
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel

More About Mount Phousi & That Chomsi

  • Mount Phousi is a sacred hill situated in the center of Luang Prabang, Laos, rising about 100 meters above the town.
  • That Chomsi is a gilded stupa located at the summit of Mount Phousi, originally built in 1804 during the reign of King Anourout.
  • The hill and stupa are considered religiously significant and attract both locals and tourists for worship and sightseeing.
  • To reach the summit, visitors can choose between two stairways, each with approximately 300 steps, ascending from opposite sides of the hill.
  • The climb offers a glimpse into local culture, with shrines, Buddha statues, and small temples along the path.

Mount Phousi, a sacred hill located in the heart of Luang Prabang, Laos, is known for its religious significance and breathtaking views. At the summit of this 100-meter-high hill, you will find That Chomsi, a gilded stupa erected in 1804 during King Anourout’s reign. Both the hill and stupa are revered by locals and tourists alike, who visit for worship and sightseeing purposes.

To reach the top of Mount Phousi, visitors can choose between two stairways with about 300 steps each, which ascend from opposite sides of the hill. The climb offers an insight into local culture, as the path is lined with various shrines, Buddha statues, and small temples. Upon reaching the summit, visitors are rewarded with panoramic views of Luang Prabang and its surrounding landscapes, making the climb a worthwhile endeavor.

What’s Nearby to Mount Phousi and That Chomsi

  • Wat Xieng Thong, a historic and architecturally significant Buddhist temple
  • The Royal Palace Museum, showcasing Lao history and artifacts in a former royal residence
  • The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, a museum dedicated to the diverse ethnic groups and cultures of Laos
  • The Night Market, a bustling evening destination for shopping and sampling local cuisine

How to Get to Mount Phousi and That Chomsi

  • Mount Phousi and That Chomsi are located in the town of Luang Prabang, Laos.
  • The nearest major airport is Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ), approximately 4 kilometers from the city center.
  • Public transport options include tuk-tuks and taxis, which are readily available throughout the town.

Dive Deeper into Laos In These Books

If you’re looking to explore Laos more deeply on the written page, here are some books worth a look.

Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos, by Brett Dakin

This memoir recounts the experiences of the author as he works for the Lao government in the early 2000s, providing an insightful look at the country’s culture, people, and the challenges faced by a developing nation.

Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos
  • Dakin, Brett (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos, by Natacha Du Pont De Bie

A culinary travelogue that explores the rich and diverse cuisine of Laos, following the author as she samples various dishes and learns about the culture and traditions surrounding Laotian food.

Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures Of A Food Tourist In Laos
  • Hardcover Book
  • Bie, Natacha Du Pont De (Author)

Bamboo Palace: Discovering the Lost Dynasty of Laos, by Christopher Kremmer

This historical travelogue follows the author’s journey through Laos as he uncovers the history of the lost royal dynasty and the impact of the Vietnam War on the country.

Laos: A Journey Beyond the Mekong, by Ben Davies

This beautifully illustrated travelogue explores the diverse landscapes, culture, and history of Laos, providing a comprehensive and engaging look at the country.

Laos: A Journey Beyond the Mekong
  • The Best Picture Book on Laos in its second edition
  • All color photographs, portrait 25.5 x 27 cm, 132 pages

A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle, by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

In this adventurous travelogue, the author embarks on a daring motorcycle journey along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which passes through Laos, providing insights into the country’s history and the challenges faced by modern-day Laos.

A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle
  • Bolingbroke-Kent, Antonia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Ravens: The True Story of a Secret War in Laos, Vietnam, by Christopher Robbins

This memoir recounts the experiences of American pilots who secretly participated in the covert war in Laos during the Vietnam War, offering a unique perspective on the conflict and its effects on the people of Laos.

Mekong: A Journey on the Mother of Waters, by Milton Osborne

In this travelogue, the author journeys along the Mekong River, which runs through Laos, exploring the history, culture, and natural beauty of the region.

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Travel Advice for Laos

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Laos (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Laos here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Laoshere.

General Information on Laos

The CIA's World Factbook contains a lot of good factual information Laos and is updated frequently.

  • Official Name: Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Population: Approximately 7.9 million (2023 est.)
  • Area: 236,800 sq km
  • Capital: Vientiane
  • Official Language: Lao
  • Government: Single-party socialist republic
  • Chief of State: President Thongloun Sisoulith (since 2021)
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh (since 2021)
  • Legislature: Unicameral National Assembly
  • GDP (nominal): $19.57 billion (2021 est.)
  • GDP per capita (nominal): $2,643 (2021 est.)
  • Currency: Lao kip (LAK)
  • Major Ethnic Groups: Lao (53.2%), Khmou (11%), Hmong (9.2%), other (26.6%)
  • Religions: Buddhist (64.7%), Christian (1.7%), other (2.1%), none (31.4%)
  • Time Zone: Indochina Time (ICT), UTC+7

Laos originated from the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, which was founded in the 14th century under King FA NGUM. Lan Xang was influential for 300 years, extending its reach into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, and over all of modern-day Laos. After declining over centuries, Laos was ruled by Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. Later, Laos became part of French Indochina after that. The present-day Laotian border with Thailand was defined by the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907. In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a monarchy that lasted six centuries and installing a strict socialist regime that was closely aligned with Vietnam. Laos began a gradual and limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws in 1988. Laos joined ASEAN in 1997 and the WTO in 2013.

David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »