Luang Prabang is the ancient capital city of
the Lane Xang kingdom. According to legend,
its first name was Muang Swa. Later it was
known as Xieng Thong. In recognition of the
city's vast array of Lao monuments and its
historic and culturally significant setting,
UNESCO declared Luang Prabang as a World
Heritage Site in 1995.
Luang Prabang is situated at the confluence
of the Khan and Mekong rivers. It is
surrounded by green hills and impresses
travellers with its gleaming temple roofs
and crumbling French architecture. Luang
Prabang offers a numerous attractions.
Vat Xiengthong: with roofs that sweep low to
the ground. Vat Xieng Thong, built in 1560,
represents classic local temple architecture
richly decorated as well as the rnosaic
setting on red background on the walls. Its
sim (chapel) has a notable roof sweeping low
to the ground. Other interesting temples are
Vat Wisunalat, Vat Aham and Vat That Luang.
Phousi Hill: The town is dominated by the
Phou Si hill; getting up to the top takes
328 steps. On its slopes several vats can be
visited, and it is peaked by a 24-metre high
stupa, That Chomsi. The top of Phousi
affords astonishing views, especially during
the serene sunsets which are characteristic
of Luang Prabang.
Former's King Palace ( National Museum ):
The Royal Palace Museum was constructed
1904- 1909 as King Sisavang Vong's palace.
These days it functions as a museum. It
houses the royal throne and some interesting
royal artefacts. The building itself
features a mixture of French beaux-arts
styles and traditional Lao motifs. The
ground floor of the museum is divided into
several halls and rooms in which are
displayed gifts from other countries to the
Lao Kings and collections of swords and
Budda images. The room to right of the
entry, hall, once the King's reception room
has walls covered with large-scale murals
painted in 1930 by the French artist Alix de
Fautereau. They depict scenes from
traditional Laos life. A room in the rear of
the former palace contains a small
collection of traditional musical
instruments and dancers' masks used for
performances of the great Indian and
Southeast Asia epic the Ramayana.
Pak Ou Cave: Equally fascinating are the Pak
Ou caves which can be reached by a 2-hour
boat trip (30 km) upstream from Luang
Prabang. They are located within the steep
rock-cliff, which rises vertically from the
waters of the Mekong River at the point
where it meets with the Nam Ou River. The
lower cave, called Tham Ting, and the upper
cave, Tham Prakachay, shelter numerous
Buddha images of varying styles, ages and
sizes, which have been brought to the cave
by generations of Buddhists.
The visit is combined with a stopover to see
the rice wine distillation at Ban Xanghai.
After visiting the caves, picnic lunch will
be served at the bamboo cottage on the river
overlooking its beautiful sceneries on the
confluence between the Mekong and Ou rivers.
Hmong village: Can be visited during a full
day excursion on the dusty road by four
Khouangxi Waterfall: The spectacular Kuang
Si waterfall is situated 29 km south of
Luang Prabang deep in the forest. The waters
tumble over multi-tiered limestone
formations into several cools,
turquoise-green pools ideal for relaxation
and swimming. Nearby, visit to Kmu minority
village is foreseen.
Bane Pak Ou: On the eastern bank of the
Mekong river opposite the caves of Tam Ting
is Bane Pak Ou. It is a fishing village that
regularly supplies fish to the market in
Luang Prabang. The village grow rice in the
paddy fields behind the village. The village
is a peaceful place with a thriving
elementary, school small shops sell among
other things sweets and bottled drinks.
Laos New Year in Luang Prabang It is held
every year. In 2000 it will take place on
April 13-14-15 and occurs during the hottest
time of the year when the symbolic renewal
of washing, played out by ceremonial washing
of the Buddha images in the temples and
people chasing and drenching each other with
water, is physically refreshing to all
celebrants of the New Year in Luang Prabang.
Enjoy festive parades through the town of
the Nang Songkran (Princess of New Year).