Luang Prabang is the former capital of Laos and since 1995 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Southeast Asian City is well known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries. You can easily find hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walking and collecting alms in the streets every morning. The golden temples are the symbols as well as honor of the locals. Here are some famous Buddhist temples you must not miss when discovering this city, particularly for the culture of Laos.
Wat Xieng Thong (Golden City Temple) is the oldest monastery in the town and it is also one of the most glorious examples of Buddhist art and architecture in Luang Prabang. This temple was built in 1560s and used for the most important Royal ceremonies and houses the bones of King Sisavang Vong. Opening hours of this temple are from 06AM to 06PM and the entry fee is 20,000 kip (US$ 2.50). You must note a rule for visiting the temples of Laos generally that the visitors must be sure to wear a long skirt and a T-shirt or they need to cover their legs and shoulders, otherwise is mandatory that they should rent a Lao skirt and a scarf.
The Vipassana Temple and Park is one of the most attractive destinations of this golden city. This typical temple is well-known for the practice of Vipassana meditation of Buddhists.
Wat Mai (The New Monastery), is recognized as the largest and the most picturesque of the wats of Luang Prabang tours. This temple was built in late 18 century and used as a temple for the royal family and has been severed as the residence of the highest Laotian Buddhist dignitary, the Pra Sangkharat. The temple’s opening hours are from 8 am until 5 pm every day. Entrance fee is 10,000 kip (US$ 1.25) per person.
The Pak Ou Caves are special sites for typical miniature Buddha sculptures. These caves overlooking the Mekong River, . They are a group of two caves, the upper (Tham Theung) and the lower (Tham Ting), with the latter being the main attraction. There are hundreds of small and mostly damaged wooden Buddhist figures over the wall shelves. The small statues were sculptured in various positions representing Buddha such as meditation, peace, rain, teaching, and reclining, etc. The caves are overlooking the Mekong River so you can do this sightseeing by boat. This cost 65,000 kip (US$ 8) per person for the return journey and only 20,000 kip (US$ 2.5) for entrance fee of the caves.
Out of modern life, Luang Prabang might be an ideal place for you to experience the atmosphere of meditation, silence and discover a part of Buddhist architecture in Indochina.
The Indochina Voyages team.
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