Wat Phra That Phoun in Vientiane

Wat Phra That Phoun is on Avenue Lane Xang near Patuxay Monument.  It has a beautiful arch entrance of Naga, and sitting on top is a Buddha with its 7 pronged head spreading over the Buddha’s head as a cover.  The Naga is a snake like animal of Hindu lore, and according to legend, the Naga once tried to harm the Buddha but was subdued and became one of Buddha’s disciples and guardians.

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

When we got there, they were performing an outdoor funeral cremation service.

Funeral Cremation

It’s very common to see Dok Champa (Plumeria) at the temple.  It is also known as the national flower and official symbol of Laos.

Dok Champa

tropical flower tropical flower

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun

Naga at Wat Phra That Phoun

That or Stupa at Wat Phra That Phoun

Temple Drum Building

Wat Phra That Phoun

Naga at Wat Phra That Phoun

Wat Phra That Phoun


  1. Hi,

    If a serpent (naga) became Buddha disciple, do we label it as follower, student, or a monk? A snake is an animal therefore it can not become a monk.

    I thought it was interesting that 2 of the questions asked before one get accepted into monkshood were.

    Are you a human being?
    Are you a man?

  2. Dallas, According to the legend, I think Naga can take the form of human and that’s how he tricked to be ordained and became monk, and if you were to pay attention to a young man today, before he is ordained as a young novice monk, he must go through a ceremony of Boud Nark, which he has to shave his head first, then dress in white cloth, this I believed is to honor Naga or Nark, therefore I kind of feel that the Lord Buddha had made an exception for Naga, and even has a ceremony in honor of his name called Boud Nark, therefore a young novice monk become Nark (Naga) first, then monk.

    See the beginning of this video of Boud Nark at Wat Lao Buddhavong.

  3. Hi Nye,

    Have you heard of the story/legend/myth of Dok Champa? I believe it was title ‘Champa Xi(4) Tuant’…my English phonetics may be off. It’s about four prince(s) who were borne to the youngest wife of a king, (king back then have many wives, etc…) and because the eldest wife was jealous, 4 puppies was instead presented to the king…and the beautiful, young wife was sent away as punishment. The four brothers were ordered to be killed by the eldest wife, but never the less were put into a large earthen-jar and thrown into the river. The jar did not sink, but floated upstream to the shore of two elder couple who were the caretakers of the king’s garden, miles and miles away from the kingdom. The four boys were brought up as the couples’ own, etc…the adventure continues through life and death and re-birth of the four prince(s), with wizard (Phra Lou-See), magic, great battles, the eventual encounter of the youngest prince with his mother, and the truth of it all.

    In my mind, I can picture this story as a possible Disney animation. Have you heard of this story while growing up? Do you know of a possible English translation?

    I can still recall very clearly my grandmother, then my mom, narrating this beautiful adventure from memory to my brothers and I as we sat opened-mouth, salivating for more.

    Thanks again for the beautiful pictures of Laos, and O’ so much memories come flooding back with each click and frame.

  4. PaNoy, that’s a nice story, although I’ve not heard of it before, and thanks for sharing. My mom used to tell us the story of bad children when we were little, and they’d get sent off into the forest and become monkey. When we’re little, this used to scare us and we tried extra hard not to be bad, especially me because I didn’t want to become monkey. 🙂

    Your grandmother, and mom must be great story teller for you and your brothers’ mouth to be wide open, salivating on top of that…I hope there were no flies near by at the time. 🙂

    Glad you like the photos, I love looking at them also.

  5. What a day that would have made it I would have walked inside that temple at the same time you did. I was actually walking on that road but didn’t go inside and saw the smoke as well. I walked to Patouxay instead and only stood at the gate for a few minutes and debating on whether or not to go inside. Well, it was not meant to be…

  6. Darly, this was on November 10, 2008, the day before Boun That Luang, I’m not sure if we’d have recognized each other. Apparently this temple is not as popular, I couldn’t find much information on the Internet. I didn’t realize that cremation is out in the open like this, but it’s an experience watching it in person.

  7. Nye…”My mom used to tell us the story of bad children when we were little, and they’d get sent off into the forest and become monkey.”

    I’ve heard of this one as well. I will have to get my mom to re-tell all of them again so I can record for my kids.

    I think a lot of these tales may have originated from Hindu, particularly the “Ramayana.”

    And Happy New Year to you and your family!!!

  8. PaNoy, Happy New Year to you and your family.

    I’ll have more time to read this year, since I’ll be blogging less, but might not be very noticeable here at Nye Noona, and perhaps you like to blog about it also, a great way to record and share with others as well. I know you’ll be good at it, something to think about.

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