Vat Phou and the holy mountain
The museum of Vat Phou shows this picture by Pierre Pichard.
Vat Phou has been founded by the Cham, according to the historians and was later one of the first temples of the Khmers outside Cambodia. The oldest ruins date from the fifth and sixth century. Vat Phou nestles at the base of Mount Phou Pasak, that got the name Lingaparvata, because on top a 60 metres high monolith reaches into the sky. This natural outcropping has led the people to consider it a sacred place long ago. It resembles to linga of Shiva, the god of the Hindu. To some visitors it resembles also a female breast (see picture by Diane, taken on Don Daeng). "Parvata" means "mountain," so "Lingaparvata" is literally "Linga Mountain." It is the same word-root as "Parvati" the name of Shiva's consort, a mountain-goddess, notes art-and-archaeology.com. Willard Van De Bogart tells the story of Lingaparvata, the story was also published with a lot of book references. Read also the official site description by the Museum of Vat Phu.
See a Wat Phu site map by globelheritagefund.org
Picture marhas First yuu see one of the barays - a Khmer word for a lake. The barays symbolize the ozeans around the holy mountain Meru.
The first terrace of the temple complex
The way for the processions towards Vat Phou with Lingaparvata (right).
Picture Alex Bunjes
Ho Thao, the palace on the south side of the procession way, a room for men.
Ho Nang, the palace for women
Decoration above the door
The walkway to the second terrace, flanked by milestones
The stairs up to the second terrace
A Dvarapala, a guardian on the second terrace.
Picture Family Craps
Way up to the stairs of the third terrace.
On top of all the stairs: the temple:
Another picture of the temple compund by Travels in Southern Lao
Over the main door
At the left side of the main door
Picture Family Craps
Shiva, Vishnou et Brama
Look down: the processions way, the palaces and the barays.
See a Vat Phu Video by danychico
Since 2001 Vat Phou is part of Unesco World Heritage. Read more:
Official Webpage of Wat Phu
Unesco World Heritage and here and here and on The Globe and Mail
Every year for Makha Bousa (fullmoon day of the third lunar month) thousands of people celebrate the Vat Phou Festival. In 2011 this will be from 25 to 30 january. Thousands of oil lamps will light up the temple grounds (read more).
Where to stay in Champasak
See the locations on Champasak and Vat Phou Google Map
Anouxsa Guesthouse: Good reviews on tripadvisor.com, "Champsak's best choice", comments travelfish.org
Daovone Guesthouse: From 5 USD. 6km south from the ferry crossing, closest guesthouse to Vat Phou.
Dok Champa Guest House: From 4 USD.
Inthira Hotel: From 50 USD. Good reviews on tripadvisor.com, some guests describe problems with communication.
Kham Phuoy Guesthouse: "Excellent bamboo bungalows with concrete floors that would be close to the pick in town if they were on the riverbank", says travelfish.org
Pimphone Guesthouse: From 4 USD. Closest to Vat Phou.
Saythong Guesthouse: "Fine restaurant", notes travelfish.org, but "shabby" room.
Souchitra Guesthouse: "Good mix of budget and upmarket accommodation", comments travelfish.org. Critical review on tripadvisor.com
Maekhay Restaurant inside Souchitrrra Guesthouse on the Mekong
Vong Paseud Guesthouse: From 5 USD.
Don Daeng Island
See the locations on Don Daeng Google Map
Picture Jérôme Guilmot
Mekong beach on Don Daeng
Picture Jérôme Guilmot
Rural life on Don Daeng
Don Daeng is a tranquil island in the Mekong River with sandy beaches, where the traditional Lao rural life with rice farming, coconut and sugarcabe plantation, fishing and basket weaving is going on. A path leads around the island - suitable for bicycling. You find some small stores, where you get a noodle soop Read reports by my egg noodles and twntysmthg.sg.
Where to stay on Don Daeng
La Folie Lodge: From 95 USD. See pictures by mbmplayhard, jenjenes5527 and Diane and Monique
See also the gallery bia Diane. See also this Google Video
In the village Ban Hua Don Daeng you can stay overnight in a community lodge or with local families (mat, pillow and blanket on the floor). Conract the District Tourism office in Champasak or the Provincial Tourism Office in Pakse (phone +0856 031 212 021).
A Deang Island map with Lao Names
Vat Tomo - another Khmer remple
See the locations on Vat Phou and Vat Tomo Google Map
Vat Tomo (also called Ou Moung or Huei Thamo): On a boat trip you discover these temple ruins, set in a forest, about 11 km southeast of Vat Phou, on the east side of the Mekong near Ban Tomo. Vat Tomo consists of a laterite enclosure wall, two gateways in good condition and the original temple, which has collapsed. The ruins of the shrine's brick towers lie in the center of the enclosure. The temple dates from the 7th or 8th centuriy and and has been reconstructed in the 11th/12th century, during the Angkorian period. It seems it has been built first as the female counterpart to the Shiva Temple at Vat Phou, according to an inscription it was in 889 dedicated to Rudrani, the shakti of Shiva. "It houses a rare mukhalinga, a stone linga with two clearly-defined albeit gloomy faces", notes Andy Brouwer, who has good pictures. "It is the only one in Southeast Asia with four faces of Shiva looking in the four cardinal directions", writes Willard G. Van De Bogart.
Read also the description by travelfish.org. More pictures on kuradashieigakan.com. Read more on Vat Phou Fund for the Safeguarding of Champasak Heritage.