Wat Xieng Thong
Luang PrabangLuang Prabang is a sleepy town in the green mountains of Northern Laos. It was established as the Lao royal capital and is filled with temples -- 32 of which are at least 200 years old. UNESCO designated Luang Prabang a World Heritage Site in 1995.
The temples and stupas of Phousi, the sacred hill, overlook the city and provide a panoramic view of a lush landscape.
Wat May is considered one of the jewels of Luang Prabang. Its facade is a golden bas-relief telling the story of Phravet, one of the last reincarnations of the Buddha.
Wat Xieng Thong, built in 1560, is at the top of a flight of stairs leading down to the Mekong. Its colors are brilliant gold and red and it is filled with intricate carvings and mosaics. It also houses a rare Lao reclining Buddha the huge funeral chariot of the father of the last Lao king.
A boatride about 15 miles up the Mekong will take visitors to the Pak Ou Caves, two sacred caves cut into a cliff that contain thousands of Buddha images, some thought to be more than 300 years old. People pan for gold along the riverbank.
Hilltribes such as the Hmong live in the mountains surrounding Luang Prabang.
Jewels of the Mekong
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