Wat Xieng Thong: Waiting in the Wings During the Golden Hour

It’s the sort of environment that could hold my attention for hours. In a heavily-carved and gilded structure that’s tucked away on the grounds of the Wat Xieng Thong temple complex in Luang Prabang, Laos, are stored a fleet of Buddha statues, crackling wooden devotional panels, nagas, and the Lao king’s cremation chariot. Adorned with cobwebs and dressed in dust, they are waiting in the wings for a regal parade.


I entered this spiritual hibernation spot during the golden hour, following a stroll along the Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos. And I wondered – as I always do with antiques, which I appreciate so very much – how many centuries old are they? How many monks’ hands had carefully placed them there? What stories could they tell if only they could speak?

Wat Xieng Thong is one of Laos’ most important temples and is believed to have been built in 1560. ‘Wat’ means ‘temple,’ and ‘xieng thong’ means ‘golden city.’ In the past, Laotian kings were crowned at this Temple of the Golden City.


In what sorts of environments can you most easily immerse yourself for hours? If you’ve been to Luang Prabang and seen the city’s many splendid temples, which was your favorite?

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

8 thoughts on “Wat Xieng Thong: Waiting in the Wings During the Golden Hour

    1. Many thanks, Rigmover. I’m so happy you enjoyed the pictures from my time snooping and snapping at Wat Xieng Thong. :)

      I also liked the way the sunbeams bathed the cabinet so well. Perhaps a bit too much sunlight, but something I’d love to have more of here in Germany now! (We left Asia about 3 weeks ago and I’m already on withdrawal from the tropics.)

      Happy weekend & thanks for stopping by!

  1. Beautiful! You are so talented, Tricia, turning something ‘ordinary’ like the discarded shoes at the entrance of the temple into art! I love those ones. Of course the antique statues are anything but ordinary, but you capture them intimately and beautifully too.

    1. Sarah, so humbled by your kind comments! I love the signs in foreign scripts, and wanted to share that aspect of Asian culture (leaving shoes at the door) with others who haven’t been there… And the storage spot at the Luang Prabang Wat was so fun to explore – I felt like a child in grandmother’s attic :)

      Where in the world are you two now? I tried to comment on your adventures the other day, and it wasn’t possible to do so. I shall definitely try again! Nice to hear from you & happy travels!

      PS – You wondered where we are… I’m flitting about from country to country via my blog, I know! We’re now in Germany, but I have a whole grab bag of stories and pictures to share from Asia (and now Europe too). If only there was more time in the day!

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