As the oldest temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Xieng Thong (Golden City Temple) is the city’s most important and most visited temple. Back he goes to King Setthathirath, who had the royal monastery built in 1559 and 1560 at the top of the peninsula. He remained under royal patronage until 1975. In 1878, Chinese gangs raided the city and destroyed many temples. The later leader of the Ho lived as a novice in the temple Xieng Thong and thanks to his attachment to the temple this was spared.
Wat Xieng Thong, very close to the Mekong River, is undoubtedly the most beautiful example of Luang Prabang’s typical temple architecture. His sim best illustrates the Lao North’s architectural style: the roofs almost pulled to the ground and the luxurious interior trim of the rafters.
The name has two meanings, both derived from a founding myth of Luang Prabang. According to this, two ascetics with supernatural powers have settled here and called the new settlement Xieng Dong-Xieng Thong, which goes back to a hill and a flaming tree. Thus, the name today means both ‘monastery of the golden royal city’ and ‘monastery of the city of the flame tree’.