Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Ancient City of Luang Prabang

Date Visited: 31st July - 1st August 2013

Landed in the capital city of Vientiane, stopby at a laid back riverside town by the named of Vang Vieng, then to Phonsavan for Plain of Jars, the most mysterious prehistoric place and finally Luang Prabang, a city which formerly was the capital of a kingdom. I totally lost count of how many hours bus ride I took but this is absolutely fun-filled adventures. 

Laos - Luang Prabang 07

Luang Prabang is a city situated in north central of Laos. It was once a formal capital of Laos and now, this old town centre is the first city in Laos to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage city. When I arrived this enchanting town, I have to admit that I was instantly fall in love with it - it's like love at the first sight. The fusion of colonial European architecture and ancient Lao structure combination is what I admired of. According to Jeff, this city is similar to Hoi An but unfortunately I haven't been there yet. Hopefully someday. 

Laos - Luang Prabang 08

Travel to Luang Prabang

As we were from Phonsavan, we took minivan cost 120,000 kip (approx. to US$15 or RM54) and the ride took nearly 8 hours. Once again, it's another stomach-churning bus ride. 

From Vientiane wise, the VIP bus ride cost 110,000 kip for minivan, 130,000 kip for VIP buses and 150,000 kip for VIP sleeping bus and the journey takes 11-12 hours. It is indeed one long distance ride.

Upon arrival at the bus station of Luang Prabang, we realised it was little bit out of the city. Of course, we were approached by tuk-tuks and we negotiated until he agreed to accept 10,000 kip per person.

Stay in Luang Prabang

There is wide selection of accommodation to choose from in Luang Prabang, ranging from budget to splurge type. A handful of decent guesthouses can be found nearby the handicraft night market surrounding with restaurants, cafe, bars, travel agencies and temples. 

Things To Do in Luang Prabang

There are so many things to do in this ancient city and honestly to say, two days is totally absolutely insufficient.

1) Wat Xieng Thong


Laos - Luang Prabang 01

Visiting temples which locally known as Wats is one thing must do when one in Luang Prabang as there are more than 30 stunning temples. Among all of them, Wat Xieng Thong is the most outstanding comparing the rest. Also known as Temple of the Golden City, Wat Xieng Thong is the oldest monastery in the city and arguably to be the most beautiful temples in Asia. The chapel represents classic Luang Prabang temple architecture, with roofs sweeping low to the ground. 

Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm everyday
Admission Fee: 20,000 kip 


2) Royal Palace Museum 


Laos - Luang Prabang 03


Known to the locals as Haw Kham (Golden Hall), it is the former royal palace and now a national museum. Various royal religious objects are being displayed in the large entry hall and it's quite fascinating visit. However, no photography is permitted inside the museum and one must leave bags with the attendants. For respect purpose, footwear is not allowed to be worn inside the museum. 

Opening Hours: 8.30am - 10.30 am and 2pm-4pm. Closed on Tuesday

Admission Fee: 30,000 kip

3) Handicraft Night Market


Laos - Luang Prabang 06
Come sundown a visit to the central market is magical. A seemingly endless ribbon of colourful textiles, paper lanterns, T-shirts and weavings adorn the cadlle-lit street. Open daily as early as 5pm until 10pm. 

4) Alms Ceremony 


Laos - Luang Prabang 02

Known as Tak bat by the local, it's a morning alms ceremony whereby the local and tourists gave foods, mostly rice to the Buddhist monks at dawn. As this is a religious ceremony, the alms-givers are advised to dress respectfully whereby shoulder, chest and legs should be fully covered. Respect the monks by no flash photography and stand 3 metres away from the procession. Alms ceremony normally started as early as 5.30 am local time.

5) Phu Si & That Chomsi

Laos - Luang Prabang 11

Tucked in the city center, this 100 metre high main hill is one hotspot for a great and serene view of the near-panoramic view of the whole town. There are 2 entrances from the ground and we went up from the one nearby the Royal Palace. It has about 130 steps up to the ticket counter, then another 190 steps to the stop. It might seem hard but not actually. Just I took few minutes stop to catch my breath. That Chomsi, which situated at the submit is backed by a small cave-shrine and sometimes, it known as Wat Tham Phu Si.

Admission Fee: 20,000 kip

6) Vegetarian buffet for 10,000 kip

Laos - Luang Prabang 09

Grab as much as you can for these wide selection of vegetarian dishes which cost 10,000 kip only. Of course, this kind of buffet is not like the typical buffet we had where you can go back to the buffet table for more but we're given a big plate and fill it until there's no more place cause there is no return for more. 

Other things to do in Luang Prabang such as attend cooking class to learn about Lao culinary and traditional foods, elephant trekking, mountain biking, kayaking and more. If you have more spare time, make a visit to popular Kuang Si waterfalls but we couldn't made it as it located out of the town.

Spending for 2 days and one night here which was kinda short period, the next thing we know it's time to travel back to Vientiane to catch our flight home. This time around, instead of minivan, VIP buses were arranged to travel from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and it cost 155,000 kip per way, which include tuk-tuk pick up and a meal. Initially we plan to book the sleeping type but unfortunately it was sold out, hence we took the normal seat. It's one #butthurt night bus ride as the journey took nearly 12 hours ride. 

Laos - Luang Prabang 10
Special VIP bus

And that's conclude my final travelogue of this charming country. 

[Credit To: Tourism Luang Prabang, Wikipedia, Wikitravel, Lonely Planet Southeast Asia On A Shoestring Guide Book]


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1 comment:

  1. The old town of Luang Prabang looks a bit like old town here and penang. The houses similar looking. Probably coz we had similar "masters".

    As usual, I would love to walk around the night market. From the photo it doesnt looks like it's being polluted with handicraft from China.

    Interesting fact about the alms ceremony.

    wah the buffet had me drooling.Vegetarian is good

    ReplyDelete

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