Wat Phou's pre-Angkorian ruins form part of the most significant Khmer archaeological site in Laos.
French explorer Francis Garnier discovered the teetering remains of this ‘lost city' temple complex in 1866, parts of which pre-date Angkor Wat by at least 200 years. Like Angkor, it has a long processional causeway, which once upon a time would have been lined with statues of lions and mythical beasts.
The encroaching jungle has, over the centuries, removed many traces of the original structures, but a series of impressive pavilions and sanctuaries inlaid with carvings of deities and kings do remain.
The Khmer temple was part of the old royal capital of Champasak and is justifiably listed as a UNESCO World heritage Site.