Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Vat Phou & Champasak Cultural Landscape, Laos

Champasak Cultural Landscape, Laos
Engraved stone at Dowth, near Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, Osh, Kyrgyzstan
Author: Markalexander100 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The Champasak Cultural Landscape is a well-preserved planned landscape in Laos that is now over a thousand years old. It is located at the base of the Phu Kao mountain range, about 6 km from the Mekong River. The Champasak Cultural Landscape includes Vat Phou, a Khmer temple complex that dates to as early as the 5th century, but with surviving structures from the 11th to the 13th centuries.

Vat Phou is the largest ancient Khmer archaeological site in Laos. Originally a Hindu temple complex, Vat Phou later converted to become a center for Theravada Buddhism, and remains as such to this day. As with most of the ancient Khmer temples, Vat Phou faces the east. Its axis is in fact not exactly east, but rather eight degrees off to the south. The position of the mountain and river influenced the orientation of the temple.

In addition to Vat Phou, the Champasak Cultural Landscape includes the Phaou Kao mountain. Together, the site preserves the heritage properties associated with the vast Khmer Empire from the 5th to the 15th centuries. Vat Phou & Champasak Cultural Landscape was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 25th session of the World Heritage Committee which met in Helsinki, Finland, on 11-16 December, 2001.

Photos of Vat Phou & Champasak Cultural Landscape

Ruins of Vat Phou, Laos
Ruins of Vat Phou, Laos
Author: Chaoborus (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 14 50 E 105 48
Inscription Year: 2001
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: III, IV, VI

Location Map of Vat Phou & Champasak Cultural Landscape

Vat Phou and the Champasak Cultural Landscape is number 2 on the map. Click here if you cannot see the map.

View UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Laos in a larger map

Visiting Vat Phou & Champasak Cultural Landscape

To get to Champasak and Vat Phou, you need to go through the town of Pakse. Read the Pakse Budget Travel Guide for further details.

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