The Wat Inpeng or Vat Inpeng is one of the less visited temples in the center of Vientiane, found near the banks of the Mekong river.
Built in the 16th century, the temple was destroyed in 1827 during the invasion by the Siamese who destroyed most of the town. It has been rebuilt and renovated several times.
The Wat Inpeng’s sim has a very attractive façade. The large gable decorated with wood carvings with inlaid mosaics show a Buddha, a Dhamma wheel and floral motifs in gold on a green background. At the center of its roof is a Dok so faa, an ornamental element consisting of 9 miniature pagodas topped with multi tiered parasols.
The stairway to the sim’s entrance is flanked by two small guardian lions. The stairs to the side entrances carry Nagas, mythological snakes believed to protect Buddhism. The sim’s main attraction is its porch. Its murals in very bright colors depict several Buddhist scenes including the Buddha teaching a number of followers, the Buddha subduing the elephant Nalagiri and a reclining Buddha.
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The doors of the elaborate central and flanking entrances contain detailed wood carvings of floral motifs. Two rows of white pillars support the sim’s roof on the interior. Opposite the entrance to the back wall is the principal Buddha image, a large seated Buddha surrounded by smaller ones.
How to get to Wat Inpeng
The temple is located just off Setthathirath road in the center of Vientiane. It can be reached on foot from much of the downtown area. Alternatively, a tuk tuk ride will cost about 20,000 Kip depending on distance. A fun way of getting around Vientiane is by rented bicycle which costs about 10,000 Kip per day.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The temple opens daily from 8 am until 6 pm. Admission is free. The Wat Inpeng is an active temple; please dress respectfully and remove your shoes before entering a temple building.