There is a saying in Asia : Vietnam plants rice, Cambodia harvests rice, Thailand sell rice, and Laotians listen to the rice grow. Laos is the definition of mellow.
The tiny and ancient town of Luang Prabang, the charming and serene spiritual capital of Laos has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.
While the rest of Southeast Asia is growing, expanding and modernizing, Laos moves at its own pace, ambling along, taking plenty of time for meditation along the way. Everyone who visits laid-back Laos falls in love with this slow pace of mellow in the Mekong. Since coming in 2009, I fell in love and still have a piece of my hart here!
This is a fave spot of mine to immerse in yoga and meditation, learn about traditional Laotian spirit and beliefs, feed baby elephants at a river sanctuary, ride a Mekong River cruise, meditate in Buddhist caves, swim in turquoise waterfall lagoons, and walk through this historical UNESCO town, soaking into the laid-back lifestyle of Laos. This is a place to lose yourself into Buddhist culture, bike along temple gates, or wander into small scenic streets and explore this gem of a town.
Nestled at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, amidst a backdrop of jungle-clad mountains, Luang Prabang is a most sacred and scenic spot. Crowned by verdant mountains and housing over 30 Wats (temples), former royal palaces and scenic ponds, it is the cultural nucleus of Laos.
The former Royal Capital is at its most vibrant after the rainy season (Sept-Nov), when the forests are brilliant emerald and the rivers are in full flow. We will benefit from the full rivers and verdant forests.
Saffron-robed monks collect their daily alms and ornate temples such as Wat Xieng Thong offer spiritual solace. Luang Prabang is known for its artisanry and culture, with interesting galleries, bookshops and other venues that specialise in traditional arts and crafts. Outside town, the beautiful countryside is rich in ethnic culture. Out trip includes a leisurely river cruise on the Mekong to bring you to Pak Ou Caves, where the Kings damaged Buddhas were stored. Additional Options include a journey to Kuang Si Waterfall, a succession of falls and crystalline jungle pools, and an Elephant Sanctuary to learn how Laos is heloing to protect their environment.
Luang Prabang History
According to legend, Luang Prabang was founded by one of the seven sons of Khun Borom, a demi-god and the mythical father of the Tai people, in 698 AD. As the Khmer Empire rose to dominate Southeast Asia, a young prince set up the first kingdom of Laos – a place named Lan Xang, or “Land of a Million Elephants and White Parasols”, and the heart of this new kingdom was Luang Prabang.
In the Realm of a Million Elephants, the Lao King was of divine origin. He came from Khun Borom, the Son of the Heavens. The Phra Bang (delicate Buddha) is the mystical national emblem of Laos.
According to the legend, it was made in Sri Lanka between the 1st and the 9th century, and belonged to the Realm of Angkor before being given to Prince Fa Ngum. It arrived in in 1359, and Luang Prabang was renamed.
The Phra Bang is considered a symbol of the right to rule Laos. Only a pure and true government may keep this sacred image. Its story, like that of Laos is tumultuous.