December Holiday Destinations – Luang Prabang
Today we will be talking about a very exotic holiday destination that you can consider, the colorful city of Luang Prabang in Laos, a place rich in natural, cultural and historical landmarks.
Luang Prabang is the third-largest city in Laos, it is located in the central region of the country, seven hundred meters above sea level at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong River and home to over thirty thousand extremely varied and ethnically diverse inhabitants.
The city is filled with great examples of French-Indochinese architecture, populated with quiet streets and street-side cafes, alongside ancient temples. The very rich heritage and eventful history that the town has to offer is coupled with a very laid-back atmosphere with friendly locals who will welcome visitors with pleasure and a smile on their faces. This atmosphere is one of the main reasons why people come here in the first place and what helps to make Luang Prabang the country’s most popular tourist destination.
One interesting thing to note about this place is that it is totally devoid of modern buildings. The buildings are either ancient, old, or built in the traditional style, and this makes Luang Prabang one of the best places to experience the natural culture and heritage of Laos.
Talking of the the culture and heritage, Buddhism is a great part of both of them, and as such you can find many examples of it throughout the city, such as the Wat Pai Pai or the Wat Ning Sikhunmeuang which is a huge temple that features very intricate carved decorations and designs.
The Wat Mai is a classic example of local Lao Buddhism, the temple being designed with a five-tiered roof as well as a golden bas-relief facade depicting the story of one of Buddha’s last reincarnations.
Probably the city’s most beautiful temple is Wat Xieng Thong, being located at the confluence of the two rivers we mentioned earlier. It was built in the 16th century and besides featuring the traditional multilayered roof, the temple’s facade is decorated with gold carvings, all of these characteristics being typical to the Lao style.
Two of the nearby villages have become tourist attractions in their own right, becoming part of the experience of visiting Luang Prabang. Ban Lu is where you can get handcrafted souvenirs at very reasonable prices, the village being known for its silk and cotton weaving, while Ban Xang Hai is found opposite the Pak Ou Caves and while the villagers here have been creating stoneware jars for hundred of years, they have recently started to make lao-lao which is a type of fermented sticky rice liquor, thus endearing it to many groups of tourists on their way to the caves.
Now bare in mind that these are only a few of the things that you can see and do while in Luang Prabang, there are many more other famous attractions and sights which you can find in and around the town so if you do choose to visit here this next December, you will not regret it.
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