Duration: 3 Hours Overview: Meet your guide at Luang Prabang Post Office in the centre of this small UNESCO heritage town. Visit the nearby former Royal Palace which now houses the National Museum. The palace was constructed during French rule and exhibits both French colonial and local designs. A copy of the Buddha image from which the town takes its name, the Pha Bang, takes pride of place in a specially constructed pavilion. Then visit Wat Xiengthong, considered the finest of Lao temples. The elegant low-sweeping roof of the chapel is a highlight of Lao religious architecture. Dating from the 16th century, the temple was given a makeover during the 1960's. Contributions by craftsmen from this period include the 'Tree of Life' mosaic. At Wat Visoun admire the impressive stupa. End with a visit to the Traditional Arts and Ethnic Centre.
Pak Ou Buddha Caves
Duration: 5 Hours Overview: Pak Ou or Buddha Caves is one of the main highlights of the Mekong River cruise when you are visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site to see the thousands of Buddha statues inside. Getting to Pak Ou Caves is via long boat from the main town of Luang Prabang.
The 25 km journey will be most memorable, cruising along the great Mekong River for almost an hour making one or two stops at a local Lao Whiskey Village or Sa Paper Village. Once you arrive at the riverbank, board the long boat and your journey starts. Please do not mind the river water as the milk-tea color is pretty normal. The long boats are also very basic so no 5-Star treatment. You get to sit on a wooden stool/chair for your entire journey.
The boatman will stop at the jetty. Climb up a flight of stairs and reach the top of the caves, where you will be greeted by hundreds of Buddha statues placed all over the area. On looking closer, the hundreds start to seem like thousands of them in various sizes and colors. This lower part of the cave is called Tham Ting or lower cave where there are an approximate 2500 or more Buddha statues. An amazing sight to see and excellent for photography.
Phu Si Hill
Duration: 2 Hours Overview: Phu Si Hill or Chomsy Hill in Luang Prabang is a "must visit" place to catch the most amazing sunsets in entire Luang Prabang. Located just opposite the Royal Palace Museum, this hill is only about 100 meters high with stairs provided to the top, overlooking the town of Luang Prabang. Some of the Lao people usually sell jewellery or even snacks as you make your way up the stairsl. The walk up Phu Si Hill is not strenuous. Elderly people and even children can make their way up the little mountain so it is an easy climb up. Best time to start here would be recommended at about 3.00 to 4.00pm to explore the area and also to get your spot for the sunset. Closer to sunset make your way to the main viewing area of That Chomsi Temple. They have a seating area made from concrete in steps and part of the viewing area has a metal fence around. There are hundreds of people with cameras and camcorders waiting eagerly for the sunset so you need to reach before 5.30pm.
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