Monday, February 9, 2015

Luang Prabang's Temples

One of the things that makes Luang Prabang a wonderful place to visit is the fact that there are stunning temples on pretty much every block.  On my first day in Luang Prabang one of my roommates from my hostel asked if I wanted to go to Mount Phousi with her.  Since I didn't have any plans and I didn't know the city yet, I agreed and we started to walk down the main street heading towards the Old Quarter. It didn't take long before I saw this:

This is Wat Ha Pha Bang.  This beautiful gold temple draws your attention as you walk towards Luang Prabang's main street, and the addition of the sunshine, a blue sky, and palm trees couldn't have made it any more beautiful--especially in contrast with the months of cold, dull weather I had just come from in Korea. 

Wat Ha Pha Bang is located near the Royal Palace Museum, and obviously warranted some exploring.

A few nights later I went to a performance in the same area and walked around when the floods of tourist had dissipated.. 
And a night view!

While this was one of the first temples I saw, it certainly wasn't the last.  Luang Prabang has temples all over the place, and I would often inadvertently run into them as I was walking around the city.

One of the most impressive temples I saw was Wat Souvanaohoumaram.  When I first saw this temple it didn't look all that impressive, but when I got closer I noticed that it was indeed really special.  The intricate gold carvings were amazing and just seemed to go on and on.

Interesting how this temple doesn't look all that impressive from the outside.  It's not until you get closer that you can see all of the amazing detail.  

This was another temple I came across one day as I was walking around.  Unfortunately I only had my phone to take pictures with, but still, it was a really beautiful and didn't have the huge crowds that the other temples did.

Another favorite temple I visited was actually one that I went to on my last day.  I'm not sure what the name of the temple was, but it was located right around the corner from my hostel and I somehow didn't know about it until the day before I left.  Since I had an afternoon flight, I decided to make my way over in the morning.  I'm glad I did because again this temple was beautiful, but different from the others I had already seen. 

Overall, the temples of Luang Prabang reminded me a lot of the temples in Thailand.  They're incredibly ornate, filled with gold, and monks in orange robes can be seen wandering the premises. These amazing temples are part of what makes SE Asia such a unique place--although Korea has temples that are beautiful in their own right, there is so much more diversity in the architecture and artistry in the temples in Southeast Asia.  Some people get "templed out"after seeing a few temples, but I never cease to be impressed by these amazing sites.  

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