Saturday, September 24, 2005

Louang Prabang - ideas for what to do

Probably three days here. Haven’t really thought what to do yet, but relaxing, eating and drinking comes high on the list. Should hire a bike and see a few of the following:

Wat Mai Photisarath: next to the Royal Palace. 8:00-17:00 Entry fee 5,000kip, Built between 1718-1788, Considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in Laos. It used to house one of the most important Buddha Statues in Asia - 'Pha Bang Buddha', 50kg pure Gold Buddha, now it's supposedly stored in a Bank. Bas-reliefs on the walls are beautiful.

Royal Palace Complex: on the main Road. Royal Palace: National Museum & Royal Apartments. Monday to Friday 8:00-11:00, Entry fee 10,000kip. Built in 1904 by King Sisavangvong, a mix of French/Lao design. It is said to have one of the best, most interesting collections in South East Asia. One of the highlights is the copy of 'Pha Bang Buddha'- the Golden Buddha.

Mount Phousi: (Sacred Hill) Opposite the Royal Palace. Entrance from the Main Road. Rear gate is now closed The hill has 328 steps. The best sunset views of the city from the top. Entry fee 8,000kip. Inspectors are everywhere. Not possible to bunk in. After 20:00 free to climb up.

Wat Xieng Thong: (Copper Tree Temple Complex) East end of town. 7:00-17:00 Entry fee 5,000kip, Built in 1559 by King Setthathirat. The oldest temple in Louang Prabang. Architecturally the finest example of Classical North Lao temple design. Its huge, multi-layered roofs that almost touch the ground, are ornately decorated and have many small pagodas on the top. This wat houses the king's funeral chariot.

Pak Ou Caves: Entry fee 6,000kip 25km upstream from Luang Prabang, by boat - 2 hours to go & 1 hour to come back. Beautiful riverside scenery en route. There are two caves, Tham Ting and Tam Phum, full of thousands of Buddha images. Take a torch.

Kwang Xi Waterfalls: 30km South of Luang Prabang, tuk-tuk charter 4-50,000kip. Entry fee 10,000kip. Waterfalls and beautiful pools in a forest setting. Pass through rice terraces, teak groves and local villages en route.