Wat Si Saket, Vientiane

VIENTIANE, Laos — Wat Si Saket (or Sisaket Temple), with an impressive collection of 2000 Buddha statues, is reputed to be the oldest Buddhist temple still standing in Vientiane.

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Wat Si Saket (or Sisaket Temple) is probably the oldest temple in the Lao capital still standing. But it’s newer than it looks, having been built in 1818—so many of the others have been the victim of a string of wars in the 20th century. Just across the street from the Presidential Palace and just a block from the Mekong River, it’s most famous for its collection of 2000 or so ceramic and silver Buddha statues on display in its cloisters.

The complex’s architecture is also different from most other Lao Wats. It was built in the Siamese style rather than the traditional Lao style, something that’s evident in both the styles of the Buddha statues and the ornate five-tiered roof on the buildings.

Photos of Wat Si Saket

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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Wat Si Saket in Vientiane Laos Roof Tiers 337-0055016537x
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Wat Si Saket in Vientiane Laos Broken Buddhas 337-0117046594
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Wat Si Saket in Vientiane Laos Architecture Roof 337-0120016602x
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Wat Si Saket in Vientiane Laos Broken Buddhas 337-0117156596
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
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Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel


More About Wat Si Saket Vientiane

  • Wat Si Saket is a historic Buddhist temple located in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
  • The temple was constructed in 1818 under the reign of King Anouvong.
  • Wat Si Saket is known for its unique architecture, featuring a mix of Siamese and Laotian styles.
  • The temple houses a museum with a collection of over 6,800 Buddha statues and images.
  • The statues and images date from the 16th to the 19th centuries, representing various styles, materials, and sizes.
  • Wat Si Saket is the oldest surviving temple in Vientiane, having withstood multiple invasions and conflicts.

Wat Si Saket, a historic Buddhist temple in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is renowned for its unique architectural style, blending Siamese and Laotian influences. Constructed in 1818 under the reign of King Anouvong, the temple has endured multiple invasions and conflicts, making it the oldest surviving temple in the city.

One of the most notable features of Wat Si Saket is its museum, which houses a vast collection of over 6,800 Buddha statues and images. These religious artifacts span from the 16th to the 19th centuries and showcase various styles, materials, and sizes. Visiting the temple and museum provides a valuable opportunity for travelers to gain insight into the history and culture of Laos.

What’s Nearby to Wat Si Saket Vientiane

  • Patuxai Victory Monument: A war monument resembling the Arc de Triomphe, dedicated to those who fought for independence from France.
  • That Luang: A significant national symbol and gold-covered Buddhist stupa, said to enshrine a relic of the Buddha.
  • Lao National Museum: A museum providing an overview of Laotian history and culture, from prehistory to modern times.

How to Get to Wat Si Saket Vientiane

  • Wat Si Saket is located in the city of Vientiane, Laos.
  • The nearest major airport is Wattay International Airport (VTE), situated approximately 6 kilometers from the city center.
  • From the airport, travelers can take a taxi or tuk-tuk to reach the city center, where Wat Si Saket is located.
  • The temple is easily accessible on foot or by bicycle within the city.

Dive Deeper into Laos In These Books

If you’re looking to explore Laos more deeply on the written page, here are some books worth a look.

Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos, by Brett Dakin

This memoir recounts the experiences of the author as he works for the Lao government in the early 2000s, providing an insightful look at the country’s culture, people, and the challenges faced by a developing nation.

Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos
  • Dakin, Brett (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos, by Natacha Du Pont De Bie

A culinary travelogue that explores the rich and diverse cuisine of Laos, following the author as she samples various dishes and learns about the culture and traditions surrounding Laotian food.

Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures Of A Food Tourist In Laos
  • Hardcover Book
  • Bie, Natacha Du Pont De (Author)

Bamboo Palace: Discovering the Lost Dynasty of Laos, by Christopher Kremmer

This historical travelogue follows the author’s journey through Laos as he uncovers the history of the lost royal dynasty and the impact of the Vietnam War on the country.

Laos: A Journey Beyond the Mekong, by Ben Davies

This beautifully illustrated travelogue explores the diverse landscapes, culture, and history of Laos, providing a comprehensive and engaging look at the country.

Laos: A Journey Beyond the Mekong
  • The Best Picture Book on Laos in its second edition
  • All color photographs, portrait 25.5 x 27 cm, 132 pages

A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle, by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

In this adventurous travelogue, the author embarks on a daring motorcycle journey along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which passes through Laos, providing insights into the country’s history and the challenges faced by modern-day Laos.

A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle
  • Bolingbroke-Kent, Antonia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Ravens: The True Story of a Secret War in Laos, Vietnam, by Christopher Robbins

This memoir recounts the experiences of American pilots who secretly participated in the covert war in Laos during the Vietnam War, offering a unique perspective on the conflict and its effects on the people of Laos.

Mekong: A Journey on the Mother of Waters, by Milton Osborne

In this travelogue, the author journeys along the Mekong River, which runs through Laos, exploring the history, culture, and natural beauty of the region.

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Travel Advice for Laos

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Laos (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Laos here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Laoshere.

General Information on Laos

The CIA's World Factbook contains a lot of good factual information Laos and is updated frequently.

  • Official Name: Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Population: Approximately 7.9 million (2023 est.)
  • Area: 236,800 sq km
  • Capital: Vientiane
  • Official Language: Lao
  • Government: Single-party socialist republic
  • Chief of State: President Thongloun Sisoulith (since 2021)
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh (since 2021)
  • Legislature: Unicameral National Assembly
  • GDP (nominal): $19.57 billion (2021 est.)
  • GDP per capita (nominal): $2,643 (2021 est.)
  • Currency: Lao kip (LAK)
  • Major Ethnic Groups: Lao (53.2%), Khmou (11%), Hmong (9.2%), other (26.6%)
  • Religions: Buddhist (64.7%), Christian (1.7%), other (2.1%), none (31.4%)
  • Time Zone: Indochina Time (ICT), UTC+7

Laos originated from the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, which was founded in the 14th century under King FA NGUM. Lan Xang was influential for 300 years, extending its reach into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, and over all of modern-day Laos. After declining over centuries, Laos was ruled by Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. Later, Laos became part of French Indochina after that. The present-day Laotian border with Thailand was defined by the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907. In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a monarchy that lasted six centuries and installing a strict socialist regime that was closely aligned with Vietnam. Laos began a gradual and limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws in 1988. Laos joined ASEAN in 1997 and the WTO in 2013.

David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »