Wat Mixai, or the Temple of Victory, was built during the reign of King Sai Setthathirat (1550-1571) to celebrate the victory over the Burmese troops during the 16th century Lao-Burma war. It was renovated in the early 1900s and adopted a Central Thai style of religious architecture.
As with many Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, the name may have association with the victory of the Buddha over the distracting demon Mara who was sent to test his fortitude on the eve of his enlightenment.
With its convenient location right in the city centre of Vientiane, Wat Mixai serves the Buddhist community who congregate here four times a month, during the Buddhist days of reverence. There is a public school within the compound and it is a lively and working temple where visitors can observe monastic life led by the numerous monks, novices, worshippers, and schoolchildren.
There is a large presiding Buddha in the main, high-ceilinged hall and the imposing columns are decorated in red and gold while the mural on the ceiling depicts the lives of the Buddha. In the temple grounds there are small stupas and sculptures of mythical animals and demons.
In all, the temple seems an exact replica of the form and style of Thai temples just across the Mekhong River. No relics are buried here, nor is it steeped in history and folklore, as are other grander Vientiane temples. Nevertheless, as part of the temple tours and for observing Buddhist daily life, it is well worth a visit.