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Wat's This?

Wats in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand
Wat a graphic!  [sorry]
As you probably know, a wat is a Buddhist temple-monastery and, unsurprisingly, they come in all shapes (well, sort of) and sizes.

This page features photos of wats in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia—although for Cambodia it's of the ancient variety, at Angkor, which you may or may not have seen yet at this site.

Anyway, we hope these few images give you a sense of just one of the areas of great beauty in SE Asia. Pictures hardly do them justice, of course, so hopefully some of you will have the opportunity to see for yourselves when you go—that is, if you haven't already!

Before we enter this (virtual) World O' Wats, though, we should of course be mindful and respectful of local custom, and therefore...


Oh, one more thing before we begin:

You may recognize a photo or two here, if you've already been to some of the other pages at this site. However, many appear just here on this page.

As with most of the pages at this site, it's heavy on photos and relatively light on info/commentary. (We figure most people are pretty busy, and would probably rather just look at a handful of photos in a sitting, without having to read through a lot of text.)

That said, though, if you'd like information on any of the things (or people) you see at this site, we'd be delighted to hear from you, and try to answer any question(s), at

Ok, let's start off in Laos, where we spent most of our time, and where there there's an incredible number of wats to be seen. Every town of any size will have at least one, and of course the bigger towns and cities will have more. Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has seemingly countless wats, as does Luang Prabang in the north.

This first one here is Wat Than Fai, in the southern town of Pakse:

Wat Than Fai, in Pakse, southern Laos

Moving northward, to Vientiane . . .

Here's the top of a gate, entering the grounds of one of the many wats we saw in the several days we were in Vientiane.

Things are looking up . . .   nice gate, eh?!

Sorry, we have no idea the name of this particular wat, as it wasn't listed in our guidebook (thanks, Lonely Planet!) and there was no one around to ask. But of course knowing a particular name is fairly unimportant, compared to just taking in the beauty and striking architectural features of a wat, or an entrance to one, or...

...perhaps just a door!

This intricate gem of a door is also from a wat in Vientiane, and hopefully gives an idea of just how gorgeous these temples can be, particularly when viewed up close.

Or how about a simple metal grille? Well, okay, this one's not-so-simple! It's covering a window at Wat Ong Teu, again in Vientiane. What could have just been a simple grid is instead a rather nice piece of functionality.

And here we see part of a wat that's open to the elements on one side, with a standing Buddha up on the platform and, in front, draped across the railing, is a monk's (rather long) signature garment:

Wat Phonxai (Vientiane): an open-air part of the wat, with a standing Buddha statue, and a monk's garment drying off on the railing

One more from Laos . . .

This is Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham, or to be more precise, some stupas on the grounds of the temple:

Stupas (white and gold) at Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham, Luang Prabang

And now on to Thailand . . .

. . . where we'll start with the bell/gong tower at Wat Chedi Luang, in Chiang Mai:

Bell/gong tower at Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

And, yes, that's a full moon up there, not a UFO!

Built way back in 1411, Wat Chedi Luang, according to our Lonely Planet guidebook, "contains the ruins of a huge chedi [stupa; monument erected to house a Buddha relic] which collapsed during an earthquake in 1545. A partial restoration has preserved its 'ruined' look while ensuring it doesn't crumble further."

Here, then, is a photo of that old, crumbly part—with the Buddha (and an older monk, out front at its base) clearly visible:

Wat Chedi Luang: Buddha up inside, a monk out front

And one more of Chedi Luang: A monk ringing the gong at dusk:

A monk ringing the gong at dusk, Wat Chedi Luang (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

And, lastly, Cambodia . . .

Just a few shots here, which you can also see—along with a lot more—at the various Angkor web pages.

While the vast ruins at Angkor were once used for a variety of purposes, Angkor Wat, of course, was really a working wat.

Here it is at sunrise, with a nice reflection in one of the two ponds out front, at about 6:30 one early January morning:

Angkor Wat shortly after sunrise, reflecting in pond out front

Window at Angkor Wat, flanked by these nice bas-reliefs:

Window and bas-reliefs, Angkor Wat

Remember, whatever you do, . . .


And to finish, here we are, standing at the east end of Angkor Wat...

Karen and Marc, at Angkor Wat

The very top of a wat, up close (in Auytthaya, Thailand)

Well, that's it for this particular page!

We hope you've enjoyed looking at these photos of wats, and also hope you'll get to look at some of the other pages at this site, whether it's for more wats, or people, or whatever.

Thanks again for spending a little virtual time with us!

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