experience southern laos
Discover Wat Muang Kang by bicycle
Vat Muang Kang is the oldest active temple active in Champasak, that dates back to the 19th century. Its architecture is quite particular and complex, with Burmese, Cambodian, French, Lao, and Vietnamese influences. The site includes a house that contains sacred texts and is the only monument of this style still standing in SE Asia.
For this day of discovery by bicycle, you set off from our hotel on the main road in the town. You pass through the town with its mix of pre-Angkorian remains, buildings and temples of the royal era, refined wooden houses of traditional Lao architecture and French colonial buildings. You will be lulled by the tranquility of the town and may see schoolchildren, also on bicycles, in the shade of the twisted branches of frangipani with their sweet-smelling flowers. You may also see the fishermen in their canoes and local people working in the rice fields with the mountains providing a stunning backdrop.
You cycle in front of Sikeut Primary School where a statue of Buddha Sisoumong faces the Mekong. It is erected in pre-Angkorian ruins and is in the shadow of a breathtaking Albizia Saman tree whose branches stretch over 1500m². Your bike ride will continue under the bamboo grove along the Mekong River that leads to the village of Vat Meuang Kang. You pass in front of the amazing church The Holy Name of Jesus Christ which is the first of its kind to be built in Laos. Your journey will take you through the picturesque village of Ban Nongvian and lush rice fields worked by the villagers in straw hats and their water buffalo.
The unique irrigation system allows the cultivation of rice almost all round. In the countryside, life flows at a gentle pace and you will feel a sense of serenity and calm. After a few kilometres, you arrive at Vat Phanon Sim and the Vat Meuang Kang bookstore. You stop for lunch along the Mekong River near the village of Vat Muang Kang. Before heading back, you can stop in the villages around the temple that specialize in the manufacture of bamboo artifacts.
Estimated time: 6-8 hours
Note: Remember to protect yourself from the sun with a hat or cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. When visiting traditional villages, consider wearing loose and comfortable clothing that covers your knees, shoulders and cleavage