Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham (usually just Wat Mai) is one of the city of Luang Prabang’s most important Buddhist temples.
The impressive temple and monastery was built in the 1780s by King Anurat, and is one of only a handful of Buddhist sites in the city to be spared damage by marauding Chinese invaders in 1887.
The broad compound serves as the home of the Pra Sangkharat, the head of Buddhism in Laos. One of the city’s most beautifully decorated Buddhist sites, Wat Mai’s ordination hall is the central structure. The hall is capped by an uncommon five-tiered roof tipped with naga figures, and features a series of gilded panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana (the Hindu Epic) and Jataka tales (stories of Buddha’s previous incarnations). Gilded carvings of deities protect the structure’s doors, and inside the ordination hall rests the temple’s main Buddha image.
The best sightseeing weather in Laos is during the cooler dry season, which runs between November and May. The ambient temperature in Luang Prabang begins a steady climb in June that continues through October. During the second half the year, short bursts of powerful rain are common in the morning or early afternoons, and the extra perception helps bring the temperature down while reviving the verdant countryside and mountains that ring the city of Luang Prabang.
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham is located next door to the Royal Palace Museum in Luang Prabang. Guests on our luxury tours of Laos gain access to the grounds during their explorations of the city along with their English speaking guide.
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham’s intact charms are readily apparent to cultural enthusiasts and students of religion. The beautifully decorated ordination hall is one of the most splendid Buddhist monuments in Luang Prabang, and is one of the city’s most photographed structures.
Appropriate Attire :
A very active Buddhist temple and monastery, Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham requires travelers visiting its grounds to dress in modest clothing that covers shoulders to knees. Some areas of the temple will require you to remove your shoes to cross the threshold.