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Posts Tagged ‘Travel Laos’

Tranquil, beautiful and sometimes hidden in the clouds, Oudomxay is located in the heart of northern Laos and is one of the most accessible of the far northern provinces. The rugged mountainous landscape has peaks up to 1.850 m covered in varying forest types and widen fields. The province’s three main rivers are Nam Ou, Nam Beng and Nam Tha, Oudomxay is mainly populated by the Khmu, Hmong and lowland Lao, with a total of 23 ethnic minorities, each with their own languages, cultural heritage and lifestyles.
In Muang Xay, the provincial capital, visit the Chinese market next to the Kaysone monument to see a variety of local products from Oudomxay as well as imported Chinese goods. Take a walk outside of town to see That Phouxaya a top the mountain overlooking Xay for a birds-eye view of the surrounding valley.
The countryside around Xay has several beautiful natural features to visit, including Tad Lak Sip-et (kilometer 11 waterfall) set in a stunning limestone environment, and the peaceful Houay Nam Kat Waterfall. Chom Ong Cave is situated 45km from Oudomxay near the Khmu village of Chom Ongthai. Entering the cave you can follow the spring of the Nam Kaeng River for 1.600m passing through large halls with heights of up to 35m and widths of 20m. Visit the therapeutic baw nam hawn (hot springs) on the road to Phongsaly in Muang La to soothe aching muscles, or the Singkham Buddha Cave that was used to safeguard historical arte facts during the war. Ban Na Xieng Di has some interesting archaeological sites believed to date back about 500 years. Also unique is the Buddha footprint or phabath found in Bang Nong Nha.

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Pakbeng, located at the confluence of the Beng and Mekong Rivers is set on a scenic curve of the Mekong shrouded in green mountains. Explore Pha Ho-Pha Hong Cave in Beng District, or experience the shared Lao and Chinese heritage at Ban Theio or Ban Nam Xeng. Visitors can spend time in La District trekking to minority villages in remote and picturesque locations. If you are in Oudomxay during December inquire about the dates of the annual Hmong and Khmu new years celebrations, colorful festivals that include music, trade fairs and lots of local food and drink.

Oudomxay Province is famous as one of the places where ancient bronze drums were cast, which have been a symbol of status and wealth for centuries. Master drum makers continue to make these beautiful drums and purchasing a new drum supports this disappearing cultural heritage. Ban Bo village is well known for skilled handicraft production, especially rattan and bamboo basket weaving. Other quality local handicrafts include cotton weavings and shoulder-bag production, salt making, mulberry paper and silk products.

Source: http://www.tourismlaos.org

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When visiting Luang Prabang, most people think of strolling the quiet streets and lane-ways of the World Heritage town, visiting a wat or two and sipping a coffee as the world passes by. But activities outside of town are worth a look, including visiting the two main waterfalls surrounding the town.

Treasure Kuangsi Waterdall

Treasure Kuangsi Waterdall

The most popular of the waterfalls is Kuang Si which is located about 30 kilometers to the southwest of town. The first glimpse you get of these falls is of the lower sections, where the bright turquoise water gently tumbles over small limestone ledges. Impressive yes, but better is to come. As you move further up the falls, you come across people swimming in a large lagoon and swinging from a tarzan vine. Walking further up the hill past more and more impressive falls shaded from the intense sunshine you come to an opening where the main waterfall comes into view.

This high waterfall tumbles out of the jungle above with incredible force. At this point it’s possible to get up close to the waterfall for a better look and many choose to have their photo taken in front of it.

Picnic areas, change rooms and public toilets are available at Kuang Si, making it a good spot to spend half a day or so.

The other worthwhile waterfall in the Luang Prabang area is Tad Sae about 16 kilometres from town. This waterfall is favoured by Lao people over Kuang Si and you’ll often see large groups of locals picnicking right by the water’s edge. What makes this waterfall different is that it requires a boat to access it.

Tad Sae Waterfalls

Tad Sae Waterfalls

As with Kuang Si, stunning turquoise water gently tumbles over limestone rocks, but at Tad Sae the waterfall is more integrated with the forest, giving the impression that it is flooded. Locals and tourists alike bathe in one of the larger lagoons with more adventurous people jumping off some of the limestone ledges. The whole area is well-shaded and it’s an ideal spot for spending a little bit of time. Tours in Laos

These two waterfalls are excellent ways to enjoy Luang Prabang outside of the colonial charm of the town itself. Don’t miss them when you come to Luang Prabang!

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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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Luang Prabang – Phou Si mountain

If there is a place that I choose to come back in South East Asia, it will be Luang Prabang. The little town up North of Laos, beside its history, beauty, the quietness, calmness, there is one more thing that I couldn’t pass: The Grilled Fish. It is naturally – becomes a signature dish along the Mekong river.

Grilled Mekong fishes in local market – Luang Prabang

Some people may say yes, you can eat the Mekong grilled fishes the same style anywhere in Cambodia, Thailand too. But no, it tastes so different with the way Laotian make it. And Luang Prabang is the place that I can eat grilled fishes anywhere, from fancy restaurants to small vendors in the markets, it all tastes wonderfully.

I am no connoisseur, but that is my true love to Luang Prabang, behind the desire of taking the extraodinary photos by the river banks or sunsets, food is the love of my life. I don’t eat to live, never want to, I eat to live and enjoy life – fortunately, until now, I am still be able to do so.

If you ask me what I would suggest when visiting Luang Prabang, my ideal trip will be staying on the wood lodge by the riverside, walking distance to the main streets, strolling the night market at night, eating in a cute garden/riverside restaurant or in local market, sipping an icey lemon mint shakes, sitting on one of the balconies bars on main streest for people watching. And I can do all those things for days without getting bored. Luang Prabang is the sanctuary for my soul to get calm, a remedy for my never-stop life. It stops there, in Luang Prabang.

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