Monday, February 3, 2014

Mount Phou Si

View from Mount Phou Si
Mount Phou Si is a 100m high hill in the centre of old town Luang Prabang. It lies in the heart of the peninsula and is bordered on one side by the Mekong River and on the other side by the Nam Khan River. The hill is a local religious site, and houses several Buddhist shrines. At the top of the hill, overlooking the town and surrounding countryside, is Wat Chom Si, which is also a Buddhist temple and is a tourist highlight of Luang Prabang.

Stairs up the Hill
It’s really an interesting exercise climbing Phou Si to the top. It was fun. There’s a good view of most of town from the top, especially the newer south side. It's a pretty steep stairway from the bottom and sunrise is the most sensible and rewarding times to go up. It is packed there at sunset, it’s such a zoo I hesitate giving a recommendation for seeing the sunset from there. Sunrise is best because not so many people get up for the hike up the hill.

The Mekong River
To climb Phou Si Hill there are two entrances on either side of the hill. One is on the NW side of the hill, along Sisavangvong Road, across from the Royal Palace. The other entrance is on the SW side of the hill on Ratsavong Road. The Palace entrance has about 130 stairs up to the ticket counter, and another 190 steps to the top. That’s what we took. Even people  with low fitness levels should be able to complete the climb to the top, although it can be tiring. The SW entrance is longer than the northern by a little, but is less steep and has more points of interest along the way, which are perfect excuses for stopping on the climb. Entrance fee 20,000 kip ($2.50 USD).

Wat Chom Si
All in all, Phou Si is a rewarding experience for all ages and if one is in Luang Prabang it should not be missed.

Highly recommended! 

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