Luang Prabang is located in north central Laos in a lush mountainous region. The city is known for its beauty and especially its Buddhist heritage. In fact, many people believe that the Buddha himself passed though the city and foretold of its good fortune. Between the 14th and 16th century, the city was quite fortunate and it was a rich trading area on the Silk Route. Today, tourists flock to the area to see its Buddhist temples and natural sites like Pak Ou Caves and the Kuang Si Falls. If you are interested in visiting Luang Prabang, be sure to stop at the following sites:
Buddhism isn’t a thing of the past in Luang Prabang. There are still hundreds of monks that live in the city’s monasteries. If you walk around the city, you may see monks collecting alms. Many tourists are fascinated with Buddhism and its’ followers. It is a non-theistic religion, and it focuses primarily on personal enlightenment. If you want to learn more about Buddhism you can visit the Wat Wisunarat or the Wat Xieng Thong.
The Wat Wisunarat is city’s oldest temple that is still in operation. The building is influenced by Cambodian and South Indian architecture. The original building was destroyed by Chinese raiders in 1887. But thankfully, the temple was restored and the builders tried to recapture its unique features.
Wat Xieng Thong:
The city’s most renowned temple is Wat Xieng Thong. The temple’s exterior has a beautiful mosaic of the “Tree of Life,” or bodhi tree, a symbol that marks the place where a Buddha gains Enlightenment. It also has roofs curve and sweep down to the ground. There are many other temples to see, and If you love to hike, you should climb Mount Phou Si to see the Wat Chom Si temple at the top.
Pak Ou Caves and Pha Bang:
The Pak Ou Caves are along the Mekong River and a great tourist attraction because of their natural beauty. They are also famous for holding hundreds of Buddha sculptures. If you want to see an amazing Buddha sculpture, make sure to look at the Pha Bang, a 116 lb Buddha statue that’s made of gold and silver alloy. The statue has some great history, and was actually stolen twice and carried to Thailand! In fact, there are legends that the statue of Pha Bang is a replica, and that the original is stored in a secret vault.
The Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum:
If you would like to learn more about the synthesis of Lao and French colonial architecture, be sure to stop by the Haw Kham Museum. The last resident to occupy the Royal Palace was Prince Savang Vatthana (1959 to 1975). Today, the palace is a national museum and contains many items of regalia.