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Archive for April, 2014

From Vang Vieng, I headed north to Luang Prabang. This beautiful city was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995 and I’ve got to say its one of my favourite cities in Asian. If you liked Chiang Mai in Thailand then you’ll love this place.

There is certainly a long list of exotic temples, simple museums, and vibrant markets to be visited.  I set off to see the sights of Luang Prabang, eager to absorb everything this intoxicating city had to offer.

Let’s pick up the best ways to enjoy Luang Prabang:

Morning Alms

The morning alms procession, known in Laos as Tak Bat, is a beautiful ritual that takes place at dawn all across Southeast Asia. Monks float through the quiet streets, collecting offerings of sticky rice from the devoted. It is a form of meditation for the monks who are living out their vows of poverty and humility; and an act of respect and gaining spiritual merit for the Buddhists who participate. Watching this sacred ceremony is a privilege. Like most things worth having or seeing, it comes with a sacrifice — in this case, waking before dawn.

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Morning Alms Ceremony – Monks line up in a procession to collect alms from locals, usually in the form of sticky rice. Locals scoop a handful of rice from their bamboo baskets to each monk’s almsbowl. Here, the last of the monks collect their alms for the morning and make their way back to the temple.

 

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The monks movement

Down by the river

Luang Prabang is a peninsula sitting right between the Mekong  and the Mae Kok River.  By the river banks you can easily track the pulse that these rivers add to the place. It is still one of the town’s main arteries as far as transport is concerned, and it’s also a great place to haggle for a scenic boat ride.

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At sunset the natural place

 

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Twilight falls over the Mekong River

Handicraft Night Market

The perfect way to end a day of sightseeing in Luang Prabang is to head to the Handicraft Night Market. This is one destination where tourists certainly outnumber locals, and yet it does not detract from the charm.

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Take in the views

Possibly the best thing about Luang Prabang is that the shores of the river are lined with bars. Some loud and touristy, others much more low key. Grab a front row seat to see the spectacular sunset as the sky turns golden over the Mae Kok River.

Dusk over Mekong River, Luang Prabang, Laos, Indochina, Asia

 

Exotic temples, simple museums

Wat Xieng Thong:  This is the most beautiful temple I have ever laid eyes on. One highlight is the symbolic ‘tree of life’ mosaic shown above. The colors, the materials, the attention to detail — they combine to create the visual perfect storm.

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The Royal Palace Museum: The Royal Palace Museum was built in 1904, was once the main residence of the Lao king. Note that like many attractions around Southeast Asia you must be dressed modestly to enter, meaning no shorts or exposed shoulders. The interior of the residence itself is surprisingly modest, at least when it comes to royalty digs.

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So…these are all pretty good reasons to love Luang Prabang, right?

 

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