If one has a feel for architecture and is also looking forward to a quiet holiday on the lap of nature, Luang Prabang is the ideal destination for him. Located 700m above the sea level, this former capital city of Laos offers many attractions to the tourists.
A UNESCO Heritage Site, the palaces, museums and temples of the city show influences of both traditional architecture and French structures built when Laos was part of the French Indochina colony.
A few of the must-see sites are Palace Museum, Wat Choum Khong or the ‘Monastery of the Core of the Gong,’ Wat Long Khun or the ‘Monastery of the Blessed Song,’ Haw Pha Bang, The royal Chapel and the most picturesque of Luang Prabang’s monasteries, Wat Mai.
The gleaming pagoda roofs and the sprawling elaborate architectural designs that surround most of these temples are reflective of a quiet benevolence that is hard to miss.
The double colonnaded porch is one unique feature of Luang Prabang monasteries. Of these many monasteries, Wat Mai is arguably the most beautiful and historically most significant, too. In the past, it served as the temple for royal family and it turned to city’s palladium when Chinese Haw raiders assaulted the city in 1887.
Luang Prabang has no less to offer to nature-lovers either. Surrounded by lakes, waterfalls, little caves and rich tropical forests, this mountainous place abounds in natural beauty. The city is located at the confluence of the Nam Khan (Khan River) and the Mekong River and many waterfalls created by these two rivers serve as ideal locations to let the serenity of the place soak in.
Among the caves, Pak Ou caves are the most famous, not least for all those golden Buddha statues that line the inside of the caves. And once one has done the rounds of the temples and the nature-sites, it may be worthwhile to explore the local flavor of the place.
A stroll through the local market offers you colors and smells that perfectly blends with the tranquil surroundings. The tropical bright-colored flowers, the smell of the fresh coffee and a variety of spices coupled with the easy manners of the local sellers are sure to win one’s heart in no time.