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No.01064 No.11/2713


Vientiane is the capital of Laos. It is located on the bank of the Mekong river. Through the largest city in the country. Most travellers are fascinated by the city's exotic Eurasian setting. The confluence of several cultures has given Vientiane an appealing ambience. Tree-lined boulevards, French historical dwellings and Buddhists temples dominate the scene of central Vientiane and impart a unique character of timelessness. Vientiane and impart a unique character of timelessness. Vientiane's That Luang stupa is the most impressive and biggest stupa in Laos, featured on the Lao insignia. This stupa was constructed in 1566 by King Setthathirat. The Siamese damaged it badly during their invasion in 1828, but it was restored in the 1936s. In mid-November, religious rites as will as a fair are held here during the That Lang festival.

Vientiane province offers impressive scenery. At Vangvieng. 160 km north of Vientiane municipality, breathtaking limestone formations estle along the Song river. The rocks are honeycombed with numerous caves, the most famous of which is than Jang. Many of these caves can be reached by foot from Vangvieng. Located 90 km north of Vientiane municipality is the Nam Ngum reservoir, a huge artificial lake created as part of a hydroelectric scheme. The lake is dotted with hundreds of picturesque islands, which can be explored by cruising around in small boats. It might also be interesting to watch the locals felling underwater teak trees which were submerged when the Nam Ngum lake area was inundated. Near the lake, at Vangsang, primitive Buddha images, dating frm the 11th century, are carved into a rock cliff.

Luang Prabang is the ancient capital city of the Lane Xang kingdom. According to legend, its first name was Muang Swa. Later it was known as Xieng Thong. In recognition of the city's vast array of Lao monuments and its historic and culturally significant setting, UNESCO declared Luang Prabang as a World Heritage Site in 1995.

Luang Prabang is situated at the confluence of the Khan and Mekong rivers. It is surrounded by green hills and impresses travellers with its gleaming temple roofs and crumbling French architecture. The town is dominated by the Phou Si hill. On its slopes several vats can be visited., and it is peaked by 24-metre high stupa, That Chomsi. The top of Phousi affords astonishing views, especially during the serene sunsets which are characteristice of Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang offers a numerous attractions. Vat Xieng Thong, built in 1560. Reprsesents classic local temple architecture. Its sim (chapel) is richly decorated and has a notable roof sweeping low to the ground. Other interesting temples are Vat Wisunalat, Vat Aham and Vat That Luang.

The Royal Palace museum was constructed 1904-1909 as King Sisavang Vong's palace. These days it functions as a museum. It houses the royal throne and some intersting royal artefacts. The building itself features a mixture of French beauxarts styles and traditional Lao motifs.

The ground follr of the museum is divided into several halls and rooms in which are displyaed gifts from other countries to the Lao Kings and collections of swords and Buddha images.

The room to right of the entry hall, once the King's reception room, has walls covered with large-scale murals painted in 1930 by the French artist Alix de Fautereau. They depict scenes from traditional Lao life. A room in the rear of the former palace contains a small collection of traditional musical instruments and dancers'masks used for performances of the great Indian and Southeast Asia epic the Ramayana.

The spectacular Kuang Si waterfall is situated 29 km south of Luang Prabang deep in the forest. The waters tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into several cool, turquoise-green pools ideal for relaxation and swimming.

Equally fascinating are the Pak Ou caves which can be reached by a 2-hour boat trip upstream from Luang Prabang. They are located within the steep rock-cliff which rises vertically from the waters of the Mekong river at the point where it meets with the Nam Oo river. The lower cave called Tham Ting, and the upper cave, Tham Prakachay, shelter numerous Buddha images of varying styles, ages and sizes, which have been brought to the cave by generations of Buddhists. Every April, during the celebration of the Lao New Year. Luang Prabang residents come up the Melong by boat to make merit at the cave. The people bring Buddha images made of wood and metal as offerings.

Bane Pak Ou : On the eastern bank of the Mekong river opposite the caves of Tam Ting is Bane Pak Ou is a fishing village which regularly supplies fish to the market in Luang Prabang. The village grow rice in the paddy fields behind the village.

The village is a peaceful place with a thriving elementary school small shops sell among other things sweets and bottled drinks.


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