This temple is a potent and beautiful place; even if you're feeling templed-out, you'll likely be impressed. At its hub is a stupa (tâht), more impressive than any in present-day Laos and highly revered by Buddhists from both countries. The tâht is 53.6m high, and a 16kg real-gold umbrella laden with precious gems adds 4m more to the top.

The local legend goes that the Lord Buddha travelled to Thailand and directed that one of his breast-bone relics be enshrined in a chedi to be built on this very site; and so it was in 535 BC, eight years after his death. Historians actually date the first construction, a short stupa (there's a replica of how it may have looked in a pond in front of the temple), to around the 9th century AD and modifications have been routine since then. In 1690 it was raised to 47m and you'll find replicas of this tâht all over Isan. The current design went up in 1941, but it toppled during heavy rains in 1975 and was rebuilt in 1978.

Behind the surrounding cloister is a shady little park and museum, which tells the legend (not the history) of the tâht and also displays a collection of pottery, gongs and some rare Buddha images.