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Luang Prabang

posted Nov 17, 2011, 11:15 PM by Dong Travel Ticketing   [ updated May 14, 2015, 8:58 PM by Vietnam Travel Tour ]

Wat Xieng Thong

King Setthathirath built this monastery in 1560. It is considered the most sacred monastery in Luang Prabang and is the site of the “Pii Mai” (Lao New Year) celebrations. One of the tem-ple’s most impressive features is a rare reclining Buddha, situated in the Red Chapel dating back to the temple’s construction. The monastery also houses some exquisite mosaics depicting various aspects of Buddha’s life including the ‘tree of life’ mosaic in the central ‘sim’ or chapel.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace built in 1904 is relatively new by Luang Prabang standards and is a hybrid of traditional Lao and colonial French design. The palace is now a museum with numerous ex- hibits on the daily lives and religious beliefs of Lao people. It also houses the Royal throne of the Kingdom of Lane Xang and other religious treasures and a replica of the golden Pra Bang, an 83 cm statue of gilded bronze that depicts calmness and tranquility.

Pak Ou Caves

A visit by riverboat to the Pak Ou Caves is a highlight of a trip to Luang Prabang. The trip begins with an hour-long boat trip down the Mekong River by motorized sampan. The mysterious Pak Ou Caves are built into towering limestone cliffs along the riverbank. Inside the caves are thousands of statues of Buddha in various sizes where worshippers come to pray.

The Baci Ceremony

This ceremony is central to Lao culture. Per-formed by a respected elder of the community, the Baci bestows good will, good health, and harmony to individuals or to a group. The Baci is performed at all traditional Lao festivals and celebrations.

Plain of Jars

To the east of Luang Prabang is the enigmatic Plain of Jars, so called because of the hundreds of huge stone jars that are scattered across the plain. The origin and purpose of the jars are un-known and are the cause of much debate, al-though the most plausible explanation is that the two-meter high jars were used as burial vessels when they were made more than 2,000 years ago.

Khuang Si Waterfall

About 30km south of Luang Prabang the spectacular Khuang Si Waterfalls is located deep in the forest, away from human habitation. The falls has a covered area for eating and there are several stalls serving simple Lao food and drink. It is perfect for rest and relaxation. On the way to the falls, quaint villages with their traditional hydrorice mills can be also visited.

Ban Xang Hai Village

Near Pak Ou caves, downriver towards Luang Prabang is the village of Ban Xang Hai, famous for its manufacture of rice whiskey. The villagers carry water from the Mekong and use it to soak rice in large jars which sit for several days. The fermented rice yields alcohol which can be drunk as a cloudy liquid, or distilled to make ‘fire water’.