Mount Phousi is a must see attraction when visiting Luang Prabang. Located right in the heart of the city between the rivers of Mekong and Nam Khan, Mount Phousi stands majestically at a height of 100m. As the highest point in town, it boasts the town’s famous and favourite panoramic view. Tons of tourists flock to the summit to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous sunset over the Mekong River and enjoy the mountaineous landscapes Luang Prabang has to offer.

Upon reaching the summit where the viewpoint is situated, the shiny golden stupa of Wat Chom Si sits firmly and greets visitors to the mountain. It was built in 1804 during the reign of King Anourouth and has become a symbol of Luang Prabang’s spiritual significance. During the Pimai Festival, woman carry flower offerings up the stairs and leave as offerings at the foot of the stupa. It is not easy to climb the mountain and feel discomfort such as itching or pain in the nose, maybe it is my thing, but to avoid this, what I would recommend is to visit and insure yourself on a future trip.

Sunset at Wat Chom Si

Wat Chom Si during sunset

Getting to Mount Phousi

Getting to Mount Phousi is easy. If you stay in the town area, Mount Phousi is just walking distance away. There are two entrances to the top. One is located right opposite the Royal Palace and where the night market is on Sisavangvong Road. The second one is much secluded and located by the Nam Khan River. I find that the Royal Palace entrance is far more easier and safer to climb, especially when the sky is dark. Halfway up the hill, you will be greeted by a small booth and that’s where you pay for your ticket. With a small fee of 20,000kip you will have access to the terrace where the famous view of Luang Prabang can been seen.

The viewpoint is easily reachable by climbing a 350 step zig-zag staircase. Anyone with a reasonable health condition will find it a breeze. On the way up, visitors will see some smaller temples, Buddha statues, trees and views of the river. Fann and I ascended Mount Phousi at around 4pm and the summit was already packed with people. Throughout our stay in Luang Prabang, we thought the town was rather empty, but it told a different story when we were here. It felt like the entire tourist population gathered at the viewpoint terrace at the same time. It was rather difficult to maneuver around especially with our camera gears. It wasn’t impossible but just be really careful. I was glad I managed to secure a good spot for my sunset photography and it was worth the squeeze.

Selfie at Mount Phousi

Fann on top of the Rock with the spectacular view

At the viewpoint, there is a rock that you will see many tourists impatiently queing up for. It is a solid rock that offers a fantastic view of Luang Prabang. You will see lots of Asian aunties plowing their way through to get to the rock and take tons of selfies of themselves with the view regardless of their own safety. Everyone else was waiting in queue while watching the aunties tackle their way through. However, despite it being extremely touristy, if you have the patience it’s worth the wait. The view is indeed spectacular.

Most tourists visit Mount Phousi in the eveing due to the sunset. As the sun is close to setting, all tourists turns into sunflowers moving their heads and cameras towards the direction of the sun. Now, that’s where Luang Prabang’s magic starts to appear.The sky turns from golden yellow to romantic purple before it gets dark. Try to set up your best spotting scope for 100 yards on your tripod before everyone starts to crowd. The sunset view is just so magical and amazing you shouldn’t miss it.

Sunset at Mount Phousi

The sunset crowd at Mount Phousi

Visiting Mount Phousi in the early morning to catch the sunrise is also possible. However, please be very careful because it’s extremely dark. There are no lights along the staircase. Fann & I used our headlamps while we climb, it was quite the adventure. Weather in the morning when we were there was rather cloudy, but we managed to capture some moving clouds with slow shutter effect. It turned out pretty good too. Last but not least, when visiting Mount Phousi, make sure to wear appropriate attire. Afterall, it’s a sacred mountain and consists of Buddhist temples. It is a common norm when visiting Asian countries.

Photos of Mount Phousi

I have been up to Mount Phousi during the late evening and early morning to see Luang Prabang at both hours. Below are a list of shots I’ve taken while wandering around the viewpoint.

Early Morning View at Mount Phousi

Blue hour shot of the sleepy town of Luang Prabang

Mount Phousi

Early morning fog by the Mekong River

Mount Phousi

Early morning fog in Luang Prabang

Early Morning at Mount Phousi

Early morning light in Luang Prabang

Mount Phousi

A traditional Laotian banner on Mount Phousi

Mount Phousi

Gorgeous view of the Mekong River

Mount Phousi

Golden Vipassana Temple glows from a distance

Mount Phousi

The sleepy town of Luang Prabang

Mount Phousi, Luang Prabang

Panoramic view of Luang Prabang

Sunset of Luang Prabang

Sun light rays shines through the clouds

Sunset of Luang Prabang

Sun is setting in Luang Prabang

Sunset of Luang Prabang

Sunset in Luang Prabang

Sunset of Luang Prabang

Golden Hour in Luang Prabang

Beautiful Day at Mount Phousi

Gorgeous day and magnificent view of Luang Prabang

Sunset at Mount Phousi

Panoramic Golden Hour in Luang Prabang

Sunset of Mekong River in Luang Prabang

Dramatic clouds turn purple during golden hour

Sunset of Luang Prabang

Romantic sunset overlooking the Mekong River

Sunset of Luang Prabang

The little town of Luang Prabang goes to bed

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