Wat Xieng Thong – “Temple of the Golden City" is a Buddhist temple (wat) on the northern tip of the peninsula of Luang Phrabang, Laos.
Had been built 1559-1560 by the Lao King Setthathirath near where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers join, the wat was a royal temple under the patronage of the royal family and the Lao kings were crowned in the wat until 1975.
Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important of Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional art. There are over 20 structures on the grounds including a sim, shrines, pavilions and residences, in addition to its gardens of flowers, ornamental shrubs, and trees.
From the entrance gate, on the left is a small temple, inside is the royal carriage which is massive, striking with yellow and decorated with 5 Naga serpents. This carriage was used by King Sisavong in 1960.
The wat is considered as representing typical Laos art and craft. A superb piece of Lao temple architecture, Wat Xieng Thong presents a sweeping two-tiered roof and ornate mosaics including a beautiful ‘tree of life‘ glass montage on the rear temple wall. The building of the wat have carved gilded wooden doors depicting scenes from Buddha's life. In the sim the ceiling displays Dharmachakras — dharma wheels symbolising Buddhist law and the circle of reincarnation. The outer walls of the Sanctuary of the Reclining Buddha, also known as Red Chapel, are decorated with mosaics.
On one side of the sim, there are small halls and stupas that contain Buddha images of the period. There is a reclining Buddha sanctuary, which contains an especially rare reclining Buddha that dates from the construction of the temple.
In 1880, the Tripitaka library was added and the drum tower in 1961. This temple, along with Wat Suwannaphumaham, was spared by any damage during the sacking of the city in 1887.
On the occasion of the annual Bunpimay (Laos Lunar New Year Festival), all dignitaries in Laos Buddhist as well as officials in Luang Prabang converge to Xieng Thong temple to celebrate the New Year and take the statue of Prabang from the Museum of the Institute to Wat Xieng Thong. People bathe the statue of Buddha with perfumes all day long, showing their devotion to Buddhism.