Luang Prabang attracts tourists to find the ancient Laos with many temples, ancient pagodas with unique architecture, traces of where the center of the Buddhist country of eleven million.
Luang Prabang was the first capital of Lan Xang Kingdom (meaning Elephant Kingdom) from the 14th century and was recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage in 1995.
In the early morning, I arrived in Luang Prabang, after crossing the winding, winding road from Vang Vieng for seven hours by car. Luang Prabang has a similarity to Hoi An with its timeless colors and shimmering lanterns at night, and it reminds Sa Pa of its winding passage, barbecue stalls … Blended into the cold air on the corner of flowers full bloom.
On Phon Heuang Street with monks close together, the image curiously delighted me as well as the foreign visitors in the early morning as the monks went begging. They followed the long delegation, first the old monks and finally the monks. Whenever there is a monk passing by, the local people kneel in front of the house, offering food and placing in the chapel of the monks. The monks’ begging takes place before the dawn dawns.
I started my journey to Luang Prabang National Museum (formerly Royal Palace) built in 1904 under King Sisavangvong. The palace still shows a prosperous period of feudal dynasties before the period of transfer to Vientiane.
Wandering in this area, peering into Pa Huak Pagoda, I was fascinated by the wood carvings and murals of the 19th century, most of which depict Buddha or historical scenes. Standing in front of the temple, across the street is a panoramic view of the National Museum with beautiful views from above, souvenir stalls at the bottom. Photo: Bthaiman72.
Leaving the temple, I came to admire the temples along Sisavangvong Boulevard in the peaceful capital. Wat Xieng Thong (meaning ‘golden city temple’) is the holiest temple in Luang Prabang, built in 1560. The temple is a typical Lao style temple with three layers of roof, Curved upward and downward towards the ground.
Stepping through the main gate of the temple, I lost my way between the sculptures carved into a mural of the story of the Buddha’s Mosaics. Owned by the royal family, Xieng Thong pagoda contains many ancient statues representing the Buddha image of Nirvana.
I have the opportunity to visit Vatmay Souvannapoumaram. The most prominent feature is the temple has two roofs, each with five floors, each floor has two heads in two corners. The two main doors to the shrine are two large reliefs depicting the life of the Lao people, the Buddha and the Ramayana lore. The main front porch has large columns and the rear porch is built later, making the temple area larger.
This temple is especially preserved because it was the royal temple and the residence of the highest Buddhist dignitaries in Laos. There is a large golden Buddha statue around the small Buddha statue, which is one of the important temples of Luang Prabang. At the temple there is a Buddhist class, if interested, visitors can listen to the sermon, of course in Lao language!
In Luang Prabang, all roads lead to Soukkaseum Road – along the Mekong. On the left a bamboo bridge crosses the river to the village, making traditional handmade scarves, on Phousi hill. The feeling of being conquered by Phousi Hill in the heart of the capital has made my steps strong and steady. More than 300 steps of red brick, cement, white paint is the only way to reach That Chom Si tower 20 meters high and Thammothayaram temple on the top of the hill.
Along the two stairs are two animated dragon statues, long over 10m long with hundreds of original Champa porcelain hundred years old. Scattered along the way to the temple there are many beautiful Buddha statues. Remarkably, at Thammothayaram temple on Phousi peak there are great Buddha footprints, a detail I did not overlook at the visit. That Chom Si Tower was built in 1804, is a symbol, cultural center, belief of ancient capital Luang Prabang.
From the top of Phousi hill, I saw Luang Prabang idyllic, ancient, peaceful two rivers Mekong and Nam Khan meanders quietly in the afternoon sun, the two sides are dark blue of the coconut. I was eagerly waiting for the sunset on the old capital and not forgetting to record impressive moments. Here, as time goes by, there’s no traffic noise. The rays of the sun at the end of the day yellow and gradually turned into purple like trying to land with heaven.
Before leaving Luang Prabang, I spend hours gazing at the city lights up on the top of Phousi hill. An ancient capital has left in my heart many unforgettable emotions, which I think, I will not only come here once.