Laos, Luang Prabang

Handmade Elephants by Tai Dom Women

Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Luang Prabang Province in northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the royal capital of the country until 1975. It’s known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.

We stayed in the delightful Mekong Riverview Hotel, with a commanding view of the Mekong River and a wonderful restaurant perched high on the river bank, Viewpoint Cafe.  Other restaurants we enjoyed are The Apsara, across from the hotel by the same name and situated on the river bank, and Blue Lagoon, an exquisite restaurant with imaginative and delicious food.  The maitre d’ at Blue Lagoon highly recommended Secret Pizza, but we did not have a chance to try it.  For a delightful coffee shop in case you have a yen for some Western food, try Le Banneton Cafe French Bakery on the charming Sakkhaline Road, open 6:30am to 9:00pm.  Delicious coffee, pastries, and light cuisine.


Monks in Saffron Robes Gathering Alms, Early Morning



Wat Xieng Thong, Built in 1560 by King Setthathirat, Arnie in the Courtyard

Temple Mosaic Wall


Temple Mosaic Wall


Wat Xieng Thong, Tree of Life


Temple Statue


Shaded Walk, Luang Prabang


Monks’ Saffron Robes Drying on Clothesline Next to Temple

Watch this Interesting Video about Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: You Will Enjoy the Portrait of an Engaging Ten-Year-Old Monk Adapting to His New Life Away from His Family.


Monks Boarding a Colorful Tuk Tuk


Beautiful Figure Outside Temple


Mekong Riverview Hotel


Bamboo Bridge Across the Mekong River, Spirit House on Opposite Bank


Arnie & Ellen at Kuang Si Waterfall


Temple, Luang Prabang


Spirit House, Luang Prabang


Wat Mai Temple with Menacing Dragon


Arnie Relaxing on Temple Steps


Wat Mai Temple


Kuang Si Butterfly Farm 



Kuang Si Waterfall

The Tai Dam women that make these elephants are from a remote village in Phongsaly Province.  These co-develooped handicrafts provide a new source of income for the village.  Ock Pop Tok is a marvelous crafts gallery in Luang Prabang.


Simone’s Handicraft Shop in Kong Say Village is a marvelous shop with a wide array of silk items, scarves, table runners, and other items that will tempt you.  My husband and I purchased beautiful scarves here as gifts for our family in the U.S., which they all loved.  Across the road Simone’s daughter runs a shop where Saa paper is made from the bark of mulberry trees.  We found beautiful writing books for our grandchildren made of this textured handmade paper.


Saa Paper Made from Mulberry Tree Bark, Simone Handicraft Shop

Handpainted Mulberry Bark Paper Drying in the Sun

Dressmaking Shop in Rural Village on Mekong River (Baby’s Crib in Background)