Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang

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), Day Time

The Rayal Palace (Haw Kham) - Daytime

The Royal Palace (Haw Kham), Early evening

The Royal Palace (Haw Kham) - Early evening

The New Pavilion (How Prabang) - Daytime

The New Pavilion (How Prabang) - Daytime

The New Pavilion (Haw Prabang) - Early Evening

The New Pavilion (Haw Prabang) - Early evening


Almsgiving in Luang Prabang

December 24, 2008

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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

Monks in a line

Monks march-past

Monks march-past

 

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.

Get ready

Get ready

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

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.
End

At a fence

The end

Finish


Roaming Luang Prabang – At a Glance

December 22, 2008

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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

Mekong River View View

Nam Khan River View

Nam Khan River View

Wat Sansuak

Wat Sansuak

 

 

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

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.

In town

In town

Along the street

Along the street

Heritage House

Heritage House

 

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

Heuan Chan, Traditional century Laos style house

 

 


Time goes slow in Vang Vieng

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…

Stop

Stop..Slow..Pause

 
No, we could not stop time in a real movement but what about in our mind. Have you ever tried to slow your mind….

In thought

Deep in thought

Time to move

Time to move

Concentrated

Concentrated

Sunbath

Relaxing


Roaming Vang Vieng in Town

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.

Guest-Houses

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.

Look around

Looking around

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..??

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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.

Shops

Shops

Things are converse here.

Things are converse here.


Roaming Vang Vieng, Limestone Mountains Town

December 11, 2008

All right, I am going to introduce you more to a small town which has become a popular destination for travelers who choose to make an overland trip to Luang Prabang.

About 160 km from Vientiane to Luang Prabang via the Highway 13, Vang Vieng is a small town located parallel to the Nam Song River and surrounded by Limestone Mountains. If you do like a mountain view, while your travel partners like to see a river view, don’t worry you will not have an argument there. I don’t have much to say how beautiful the views are. Sometimes a photo says a thousand words…. 

Also, let me categorize this into my Day and Night Photograph Collection.

Good Morning, Nam Song River

Good Morning, Nam Song River

Limestone Mountains

Limestone Mountains

Bridge over (trouble) water...

Bridge over (trouble) water...

Bamboo bridge at sunset

Bamboo bridge at sunset

Sundown

Sundown


A coming of unexpected visitor thru an iPhone by a six year old boy

December 8, 2008

These photographs that I am going to show you were entirely unexpected shots either an object or a photographer.  

While I was having a dinner at a restaurant yesterday, an uninvited visitor came in. It was an elephant…a big..big..big elephant. Just in a second, I automatically grabbed my phone and took his shot. My nephew, a six year old boy, was sitting near me, he shouted and asked to take the visitor photos also. I then handed him the phone. He was like very exciting and wasn’t fear to get the shots at all. Check out what he got!

My photo

My photo

My nephew's shot

My nephew's shot

Look! how close he was

Look! how close he was

Big elephant vs Small photographer

Big elephant vs Small photographer

Enough boy! you didn't have to follow him

Enough boy! you didn't have to follow him