Wat Dane Soung Jungle Temple – Vientiane, Laos - Atlas Obscura

Wat Dane Soung Jungle Temple

An ancient jungle temple carved into a rocky overhang of the Dane Soung Plateau. 


The Dang Soung Plateau was once a spiritual epicenter in ancient Vientiane-Viengkham as evidenced by the numerious stone shrines scattered throughout. Apparently, today only a solitary monk by the name of Soubane inhabits the area. This plateau is also home to the jungle temple, Wat Dane Soung.

The Wat Dane Soung is believed to have been built in the first millennium by the Mon, and features a number of Dvaravati-style Buddha images carved into the rock. Many of these images have been painted gold.

In 1986 construction of a new temple began, but was never completed due to lack of funds. A few years later, in the early 1990’s, the Lane Xang Hotel built a restaurant on site in hopes of encouraging tourism. As local legend has it, the necessary ceremonies for appeasing the spirits were not performed, resulting in a fire that burned down the new building. The foundation of this building still remains and can be visited today.

Adapted with permission from Exploguide.com dedicated to travelers looking for alternative and off the beaten track travel.

Know Before You Go

From Vientiane, go North on the road N°13 (going to Luang Prabang). Drive 22km (see the milestones) and you will reach the Houakoua village. Pass the bridge and, just after, turn left on a sealed road and pass Ban Naxone village. Drive west to Ban Nagnang. Go through the village till you see the school on you right. Take the dirt track on the right. You will reach a dam and a little lake. You must leave you car at the lake tourist area car park and go further 3km (W) by feet or motorcycle. Use a motorcycle only if the weather is dry and if you are a good driver : the track is very bad. You can drive from Vientiane to Dane Soung temple with a motorcycle. Rent it at PVO car rental (see related article).

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