Vat Pha Keo (or Wat Phra Keo in Thai language) was built in 1565 - 1566 by order of King Saya Setthathirath, and was once the royal temple of the Lao monarchy when the capital of Lane Xang was moved from Luang Prabang to Vientiane.
The building had housed the sacred Emerald Buddha until the Thais stole it to Bangkok in 1778.
Vat Pha Keo was destroyed by war between the Thais and Lao in 1829 and reconstructed in 1936 during the reign of King Sisavang Vong. It became a religious arts museum in 1968 and a monument museum in 1988.
No cameras are allowed inside Vat Pha Keo, but the museum contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures, antique brass drums, palm leaf manuscripts and other valuable objects. Vat Pha Keo is the most famous former temple in Laos and alot of tourists especially from Europe and Thailand like to come to visit each year, the Thais usually come together in a big group.