Phousi Hill - Asia Travel & Leisure

Asia Travel & Leisure

Phousi Hill

Mount Phousi is the geographical as well as spiritual centre of the town. Believed to have once harboured a powerful naga who dwelt in its bowels, the hill is also seen as a miniature Mount Meru, the Mount Olympus of Hindu-Buddhist. At the base of the long peninsula on which the old town of Luang Prabang is sited is a small hill, just 100 meters (325 feet) high. The sides of the hill, as well as the top, is studded with many small temples and shrines.

There are three approaches to the summit. The first and most straightforward is via the stairway directly opposite the main gate of the Royal Palace Museum. The second approach, on the other side of the hill, is up a zigzag stairway flanked by whitewashed naga, and can be used for descending to Phousi Road. The third and most rambling approach is via Wat Pha Phoutthabat near Phousi’s northern foot. Most people choose the first ascent, which allows you to first stop at the adjacent Wat Pa Houak. This fine little temple, overlooking Sisavangvong Road and the Royal Palace Museum, has a charmingly weathered facade, but is mainly of interest of its interior murals.
Though there is nothing to see on the hill itself, save for an ancient-looking sim at its foot, Phousi is striking from a distance. Indeed, the golden spires of That Chomsi at its summit are the first glimpse of the city that visitors get if they are arriving by boat or plane. Likewise, the peak affords a stunning panorama of the city it crowns, and the shimmering rivers and jungle-clad mountains beyond are mesmerizing.
Visit at night for the most breath taking sunsets you have ever seen. The way up can be tiring and may require a rest stop but it is worth every one of the 328 steps you must climb. The view from the top is awe-inspiring. You have a 360 degree view of Luang Prabang and the surrounding countryside as well as the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers.

Notes:
Open daily from 8AM - 5PM, all year around
Location: Opposite to Royal Palace Museum.
Entrance fee: Adult: 20,000 Kips = 2.5 dollars.

Highlights:
The best visiting time is in the early morning to see the sunrise and in the late afternoon to savor the sunset. The scenery during sunset was truly magical from the top of the hill. However the summit of Phousi Hill, at the base of Wat Chom Si, is crowded with tourists, especially at the end of the day, as everybody wants to come here to view the sunset.
Because it is such an exhausted climb up to the top of the hill, it is not recommended for any old people take this activity. The staircase can get wet and slippery after the rainy days, it is very dangerous for children also.