Travel to Laos, Discover the Magnificence of Luang Prabang
by Blake Johnson Apr 27, 2017
A journey with the real experiences can change your life by enriching your knowledge about the worlds. Each destination can offer you the different lessons. And if you are finding an excellent destination, I recommend you pay a visit to Luang Prabang – the land of Buddhism in Laos. This unique area will give you vivid memories with its glistening temples, colonial buildings on the historic streets and picturesque views.
Luang Prabang is located at the confluence of two rivers (Nam Khan and Mekong rivers) in northern Laos and encircled by lush green mountains. One of the legends told that when Buddha stopped to rest in this area, he predicted that one day it would be a prosperous and influential city. In the early day, it was known as Muang Sua, then Xieng Thong.
When Lan Xang – the first Lao kingdom was established, Luang Prabang became the capital city. It kept its position until 1545 when King Phothisarat moved the royal court to Vientiane. Its name in which Luang means great or royal followed the name of Pha Bang Buddha statue – a gift from Khmer monarchy.
When the Luang Prabang monarchy was weak and attacked by Black Flag wing of the Chinese Haw, it accepted French protection. Thus, French style had great impact on the construction of buildings at that time.
In 1945, Laos declared its independence from France; however, France still tried to recapture Laos. It was not until 1954 that Laos is completely out of the France’s reach. The revolt in 1975 ended the Luang Prabang monarchy in Laos.
Because of having outstanding cultural, historic and architecture values, in 1995, it took a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Although it is no longer the capital city, it still is one of the main centers for economy, tourism, Buddhist learning and spiritual contemplation.
Things to Do and See in Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Fall is considered as an aquatic paradise in Luang Prabang. The must-see destination is located 29km south of the city. It is a stunning three-tiered waterfall and is really picturesque with multi-leveled rocks and different colors such as the green color of trees and moss on the stones or the white color of water.
Especially, pools of turquoise-blue water will definitely be your lasting impression. The water falling from 60-meter height to the limestone bottom crates amazing azure water pools for swimming and sightseeing.
Cool water which keeps its own characteristic thanks to the lush tropical jungle will satisfy and recharge your energy when you spend time on swimming in the pool. Except for walkway and bridge, trails are also available for you to climb to the top of the fall and get the magnificent view. In addition, you can make a “detective” journey through the secret cave to find the spring water of the fall.
2. Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong is the best testament for the fame of Luang Prabang as the city of stunning temples. Built in 1560, the temple got the name which literally means Temple of golden city. At first, it was used with the function as an important location for holding coronation ceremony of Kings and as a monastery. However, when the monarchy is collapsed in 1975, it was only used as a Royal Temple.
Although this temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times, its original shape is still remained with multi-tier sweeping roofs, the decoration patterns which are covered with gold leaf on the walls and entrance. Moreover, as a great historic symbol, you can find the tree of life mosaic which is made of glass of red on the exterior war, many brilliant and splendid wood carvings, rare Buddhist deities as well as the funeral carriage with the detail of 7-headed serpent.
3. Royal Palace
With the long history of monarchy, there’s no doubt that Royal Palace is a popular destination which allows us to have a close into the history of this region. Its official name is Haw Kham which means Golden Palace. This building was erected in 1904 and firstly served as the residence for King Sisavang Vong. However, it was converted into a museum after being restored.
The Royal Palace leaves strong impression on visitors by its style which is the mix of French Beux Arts and traditional Laotian architecture. When coming to this location, apart from enriching your knowledge about the lifestyle of King Family, you can get a chance to contemplate the royal religious objects, statues, painting from the past.
4. Mount Phousi
Mount Phusi or the Phou Si Hill is an ideal destination for visitors to watch sun rise and sun set with spectacular 360-degree views of Luang Prabang’s landscape and its nearby rivers.
The hill offers you a good chance to exercise by climbing over 350 steps to reach the top of the hill and relax with fresh air, green trees and caves. Mount Phousi is really a sacred hill as its name since it has many Buddha temples and statues such as reclining Buddha. One of the most amazing temples is Wat Chom If located at the top of the hill. It was built in 1804 as a 24-metre high stupa and decorated by seven golden parasols. It is seen as the sole wat touching to the skyline in Luang Prabang.
Moreover, to make your trip more perfect, you shouldn’t ignore Art & Ethnology Centre which help you take a close glimpse to the Laotian culture, Wat Long Khoun, Pak Ou Caves with 4000 Buddha statues facing to river and participate the Alms ceremony.
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