Luang Prabang used to be a religious capital of Laos, thus it is the concentration of more than 100 temples. Particularly, visitors will discover Vat Xieng Thong (means “The Golden City”) or Temple of the Royal city, the oldest, most important and most beautiful temple of Luang Prabang. It was built under the reign of the King Setthathirat (1559-1560). The temple is splendidly decorated with carving and mosaics within a picturesque scenery surrounding. Transfer to Vat Sene, the first monastery of which roof was covered with yellow and red tile that made it colorful.
Pay a visit to the Royal Palace which is now the National Museum built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. In 1975, communist government overthrew the monarchy and the palace was then converted into a national museum.The museum is an ideal place for visitors to learn more about Lao history and culture.
Then we get on a board for a cruise upstream on the Mekong River and transfer 30km to the north for Pak Ou Caves exploration. Two hours upstream on the boat are the great time exploring and feeling the distinction of the Mekong River in Laos. From the far distance, limestone cliffs appear impressively among the intersection flow of Nam Ou River into the Mekong. That is where the “hiding” of the sacred Pak Ou Caves, associated with beliefs of Lao people for over 600 years. The cave is the home of more than 4000 Buddha statues which were brought to here reverently by the Lao to hide, throughout the centuries. Pak Ou is actually the common name for the two arch caves sheltered in the mountains: Tam Ting and Tam Phum.
At the first time entering the Tam Ting, visitors are extremely overwhelmed by countless Buddha statues with numerous genres, materials and dimensions. The system of statues here is evaluated to be diversified of many different forms of Buddhism. This is indeed a treasure of shaping art of Lao people with Buddha statues are made upon the style of “four spirit majesty”, that 4 postures are walking, standing, lying and sitting but their details were transformed to create 40 positions called Mudra.
Finishing 200 stairs located right outside the entrance of Tam Ting, you will find the Tam Phum situated at the top of mountain. The cave is deep into dark but closer inside, the space suddenly become spiritual by the magical light from the candles on the Buddhist altar. Thousands Buddha faces were manipulated by the sophisticated hands of Lao artisans, now appear more vividly and majestically than ever. It is hard to imagine the 300-year-ago scene in the chaos of invading, the people transferred by boat to hide the statues here every night. Pak Ou Caves, for long in the Lao belief, have been the sacred accommodation of Protective Gods.
On the way back to the city, stop at Ban Xang Hai village where you understand how Lao traditional rice whisky is distilled. Certainly, visitors are free to sample its flavour. We also take a visit to Ban Phanom, the famous village of hand weaving.
Transfer back to hotel. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast