Mount Phou Si
Mount Phou Si
Mount Phou Si also written Mount Phu Si, is a 100 m high hill in the centre of the old town of Luang Prabang in Laos. It lies in the heart of the old town 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 are several Buddhist shrines.
Halfway up the hill, overlooking the Nam Khan is Wat Tham Phou Si, a Buddhist temple. At the summit 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.
HOW TO GET TO MOUNT PHOUSI
You really can't miss the hill, as it's the highest point in the whole of Luang Prabang town! The town is small enough that it's definitely within walking distance from most central areas.
There are two staircases leading to the top of Phousi Hill, with plenty of stairs to navigate up! The first, which rises opposite the Royal Palace Museum on Sisavongvang road (near Luang Prabang's night market), tends to be the most popular route up to the top with only 328 steps. The only drawback is that there aren't many scenic spots on this way up, but it is the quickest way to get to the summit.
The second way to the top begins next to the Nam Khan river on Thanon Phousi, with 355 steps (now you can see why the first option was the more popular!). Personally, we'd recommend going up this way, as it takes in a number of important cultural sites, including: a small cave temple called Wat Tham Phousi, a reclining Buddha, a number of seated Buddha images calling for rain, meditating, or holding alms bowls, a multi-headed serpent, and a footprint of Buddha. There are also lots of beautiful scenic viewpoints over Luang Prabang and the two rivers so it's worth taking your time on this path to soak it all in.
We chose a slightly more rambling way, and spent some time exploring the grounds of Wat Pha Phoutthabat, an active temple, and watching the young monks going about their days. The path connects up with Thanon Phousi eventually.