That Dam


That Dam sits on a quiet roundabout near the centre of Vientiane. Legend has it that this stupa was once coated in a layer of gold. The gold is said to have been carted off by the Siamese during their pillaging of 1828, after which the stupa took the ‘black’ sobriquet in memory of the dastardly act.

However, another myth is slightly at odds with this and says That Dam is the abode of a dormant seven-headed dragon that came to life during the 1828 Siamese–Lao war and protected local citizens, although apparently not the stupa’s gold…

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vientiane attractions

1. Wat Si Saket

0.22 MILES

Built between 1819 and 1824 by Chao Anou, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Vientiane, Wat Si Saket is believed to be the city's oldest surviving wat…

2. Haw Pha Kaeo

0.26 MILES

Once a royal temple built specifically to house the famed Emerald Buddha, Haw Pha Kaeo is today a rather dusty, lacklustre national museum of religious…

3. Presidential Palace

0.26 MILES

It's not possible to go inside the Presidential Palace, as unsurprisingly it is reserved for the president and government officials. It is, however, a…

4. Lao National Culture Hall


Huge government building that occasionally plays host to government-approved dance or musical performances.

5. Wat Xieng Nyean

0.37 MILES

This centrally located temple has a convenient entrance on Rue Fa Ngoum, the riverfront road.

6. Wat Mixai

0.38 MILES

One of a cluster of temples on the main drag, known for its Bangkok-style sǐm (ordination hall) and heavy gates, which are flanked by two nyak (guardian…

7. Sacred Heart Cathedral

0.42 MILES

Also known as Vientiane Cathedral, this is the spiritual home of Catholicism in Laos, built during the French colonial period in 1928.