December 27, 2008
Built as a residence for King Sisavang Vong and his family in 1904 by the French. The palace was built on the riverfront, to be in direct view of arriving official visitors. Displaying traditional Laos motifs fused with French beaux-art styles, many of the rooms have been preserved since the day of the revolution when the royal family was forced into exile by the Pathet Lao.
I didn’t plan to get the Day and Night Photograph Collection of the Royal Palace at first. Because of there is usually closed at 1600pm. However, I was walking along the main street of Sisavang Wong at the first evening I arrived to Luang Prabang, I saw its entrance was still opened. I then walked in and made some quick shots. I was afraid that a guard may come to me and kick me out, though. But there wasn’t any. I visited there again in the afternoon of my last day in Luang Prabang. So, this day and night collection is kind of unplanned operation.
The Rayal Palace (Haw Kham) - Daytime
The Royal Palace (Haw Kham) - Early evening
The New Pavilion (How Prabang) - Daytime
The New Pavilion (Haw Prabang) - Early evening
December 24, 2008
Laos’s people are mainly Buddhists. Giving alms to the monks is a traditional activity and still strong in Luang Prabang. Although there seems to be tourists’ line, either purpose of the almsgiving participation or taking photographs, more than local residents at present. This long-established practice is one of attractive things that visitors aim to see in this peaceful town.
Monks in a line
I was like many visitors that wanted to have photos of monks’ line receive alms by the local people or tourists. Of course, I got some as you can see. However, while I was waiting around for the next coming line of the monks, I was interested in a middle age Laos women who I sat beside her. Her manner when she gave alms to the monks was very interesting. Thence I pointed my camera lens to her rather than the monks’ line at the last moment of my shooting. She was willing and pleased to me when I asked her permission before taking photos.
When she picked sticky rice from a bamboo basket, she raised it to her forehead, bent her head a bit before placing it in the monks’ alms bowl and lifted her right hand touch the forehead at the end. It is a salutation and a moment that you pray to the act, she told me.
Pray and salute
Once she finished the almsgiving and there was sticky rice left, she picked some sticky rice and molded them to three small scoops. She placed them at a fence. What I was told is that the three scoops of sticky rice represent to the three elements of Buddhism – Buddha, Dharma and Priest.
At a fence
December 22, 2008
Luang Prabang is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 located in north central of Laos. Visiting to the town, it is a chance to see both natural and historical sites. The town is surrounded by the Mekong River and Nam Khan River.
Mekong River View View
Nam Khan River View
There are lots of Wat (temple) in Luang Prabang. It may take a few days to visit every Wat in the town. They are also a part of qualifications making Luang Prabang as the World Heritage Site.
Although Luang Prabang is rapidly developing into a sense of tourist place, visiting a Wat is still reflective to local people life.
Wat Xieng Thong
The French Colonial Architecture is an outstanding style of townscape. Most of those buildings still are good taken care of. Though, they seem to become commercial places rather than residential houses nowadays.
Along the street
The traditional Laos House Style is also worth to check out.
You can also find lots of guesthouses (Heuan Pak) that local people adapt and renovate their own house to a room rental.
Heuan Chan, Traditional century Laos style house
December 14, 2008
There were many moments in time that things seemed to be slow and cool when I was in Vang Vieng. Although we could not stop time but there would be good if we could slow it down, sometimes…
No, we could not stop time in a real movement but what about in our mind. Have you ever tried to slow your mind….
Deep in thought
Time to move
December 12, 2008
Vang Vieng is a well-known destination among backpackers nowadays, particularly Western and European people. Most of them like to spend a few days, a couple weeks or even a month and enjoy in this quiet town. There are lots of guesthouses for a choice of your stay. You can pay only US$10-20 to get a nice and clean bungalow or bamboo/wooden cabin with air-conditioned, hot shower and private bathroom.
Nice and clean guesthouses
Renting and cycling a bike around the town is very easy thing to do. Believe me that it will not be over than a couple hours to do a quick wandering around the town center by a bicycle. Otherwise, to go on foot like I did is also a good choice.
One scene that you will often see particularly in late afternoon or evening is foreign backpackers sit on a bench, sip ‘Beer Laos’ and watch (such a very old american tv series) ‘Friends’ series. Most of local restaurants like to please their customers what they want to. But hey! Can I have any others more interesting than Friends, please..??
- Agrhh..don’t you have the Prison Break 🙂
I heard that the town has been much growing in last few years. Although I have never been there before, I can tell that things are going so fast in Vang Vieng. Lots of guesthouses constructions are in progress. Many local people houses have been adapted and renovated to serve backpackers who look for a cheap rental room. An internet café has been rising around the town. Restaurants are ready to serve you with many menus either western or local dishes.
Things are converse here.