LUANG PRABANG - A WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The ancient capital of the former Kingdom is one of the best-preserved
ancient cities in South East Asia. Nestled in the mountains at the
confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers the town has a unique charm
with gilded temples on nearly every corner and saffron robed monks
strolling through the quiet streets. The city center has kept the
flair of the bygone days and is rich in cultural heritage with old
monasteries and temples. A UNESCO report identified 33 temples and
111 historic Lao-French buildings and in 1995 the city was declared
a World Heritage Site. It is a sleepy town and it is best to explore
the center and discover the ancient monuments on foot.
MAIN SITES IN LUANG PRABANG
Vat Xiengthong is the most beautiful among all monasteries of Luang
Prabang and represents the typical Lao architecture. It was constructed
in 1560 by King Say Setthathirath and is situated on the wedge of
land formed where the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers meet.
This temple was build in 1513 and is the oldest temple in Luang
Prabang. It was destroyed by fire at the end of the 19th Century
and rebuild shortly after, keeping the old structure as much as
possible. It has an unique roof that sloes sideway over the terrace
and inside the high ceiling is a collection of gilded Buddha images.
This Vat used to be the residence of the Sangkhalat (Supreme Patriarch
of Lao Buddhism). In front of the temple are two large Banyan Trees
which are home to the town's most important spirit shrine.
Vat Mai Suwannaphumahang
This temple in the center of town has a traditional five-tiered
roof, the traditional Luang Prabang style. The main attraction however
is the front veranda with it's beautifully decorated columns and
the sumptuous gold relief on the wall that recounts scenes from
the Ramayana and village life.
The temples on the slopes of the hill in the center of town are
all of recent construction. From the top of the hill however you
have an excellent view over the charming city of Luang Prabang and
Royal Palace Museum
Constructed as a palace by King Sisavangvong between 1904 and 1909
in the center of town the building is now used as National Museum.
It houses the Royal Throne of the Lan Xang Kingdom in its original
splendor, and a lovely collection of personal artifacts of the Royal
Family as photos, musical equipment and gifts received from foreign
SITES AROUND LUANG PRABANG
The beautiful Kouangsy Waterfall is located about 30km outside Vientiane
in an ideal area deep in the forest, away from human habitation.
The waterfall tumbles over multi-tiered limestone formations into
cool, clear pools and invite for a refreshing swim or simply for
rest and relaxation.
Pak Oo Caves
The holy limestone caves of Pak Oo are located on a rock cliff rising
vertically from the waters of the Mekong River. The most famous
caves are the two main caves, which are full of Buddha images in
A pleasant 2 hours boat ride from Luang Prabang
takes us there and on the way we can visit local villages on the
shore of the river.