Wat Wisunarat (Wat Visoun) is a Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang that dates back to the early 16th century.
Founded in 1513 by King Visoun, the temple’s central feature is a rounded stupa made from brick and mortar. The gourd-like profile of the shrine, almost unheard of in Laos, earned it the nickname “The Watermelon Stupa.”
During the Haw Wars that swept through much of Southeast Asia during the 19th century, Luang Prabang was taken by a band of raiders, who were rebel soldiers turned bandits after the Taiping Rebellion in China. Called “Black Flag Riders” because of their preference of using black signal flags for cavalry maneuvers, the raiders extensively looted and burned the city, razing all but a handful of the city’s beautiful Buddhist shrines and temples to the ground. Wat Wisunarat faired particularly poorly, and was left in ruin until restoration work was carried out by the French in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The weather in Laos is generally the best between November and May during the country’s long dry season. Temperatures begin to climb in June as the rainy season takes hold of the land. The increased temperatures and chances of rain last through October, but the extra precipitation during these months turns the nation’s forests a vibrant green hue.
Wat Wisunarat is located in the city of Luang Prabang in north central Laos. Our guests typically reach the temple on foot or in a private vehicle alongside their guide depending on their itinerary for the day.
While not as well preserved or restored as other Buddhist sanctuaries in Luang Prabang, Wat Wisunarat has plenty of charm. Its unique architecture and intriguing history make it an excellent stop for any luxury tour of Laos.
Appropriate Attire :
As Wat Wisunarat is an active Buddhist temple, it’s important for travelers to dress appropriately in modest attire in keeping with local traditions. Clothes that cover at least shoulders and thighs are a must, and some areas in the compound will require guests to remove their shoes before crossing the threshold.