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Luang Prabang - Laotian city of Buddhist temples

Wat Pha Bang is the temple for the former Royal Palace; every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms

Wat Pha Bang is the temple for the former Royal Palace; every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms

Wat Mahathat; Luong Prabang gained UNESCO status for unique and remarkably well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries

Wat Mahathat; Luong Prabang gained UNESCO status for unique and remarkably well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries

Wat Sensoukarahm; most of the temples also had smaller temples, stupas, schools, libraries and/or other auxiliary buildings on the grounds

Wat Sensoukarahm; most of the temples also had smaller temples, stupas, schools, libraries and/or other auxiliary buildings on the grounds

Monks were a common sight around town; most of the temples had resident monks including many who were quite young (the minimum age to become a Buddhist monk is 8)

Monks were a common sight around town; most of the temples had resident monks including many who were quite young (the minimum age to become a Buddhist monk is 8)

Wat Xieng Thong is Luang Prabang's best known monastery and is centered around this 1560 ordination hall; mosaics covered all the buildings with this tree of life mosaic being especially impressive

Wat Xieng Thong is Luang Prabang's best known monastery and is centered around this 1560 ordination hall; mosaics covered all the buildings with this tree of life mosaic being especially impressive

This bamboo bridge crosses the Nam Khan River with the Mekong on the far left; there is a small charge to cross the bridge during the day but at night it is free; they rebuild the bridge every year after monsoon season

This bamboo bridge crosses the Nam Khan River with the Mekong on the far left; there is a small charge to cross the bridge during the day but at night it is free; they rebuild the bridge every year after monsoon season

Wat Sopsickaram; it amazed us how such a small place could support so many temples (some temples were right next door to each other; maybe they are different sects)

Wat Sopsickaram; it amazed us how such a small place could support so many temples (some temples were right next door to each other; maybe they are different sects)

Wat Sibounheuang; the Lao currency is the kip and currently $1 USD = 8586 kip; the smallest bill I've seen is for 500 kip or 6 US cents

Wat Sibounheuang; the Lao currency is the kip and currently $1 USD = 8586 kip; the smallest bill I've seen is for 500 kip or 6 US cents

The view from the top of 490 ft high Mount Phou Si; with the smoke and smog, we were disappointed that the view wasn't spectacular like my guide book promised

The view from the top of 490 ft high Mount Phou Si; with the smoke and smog, we were disappointed that the view wasn't spectacular like my guide book promised

Wat Pa Phai; one of the oldest temples in the city dating from either 1645 or 1815 that has ornate murals inside reflecting sequences from the lives of ordinary Laotian people

Wat Pa Phai; one of the oldest temples in the city dating from either 1645 or 1815 that has ornate murals inside reflecting sequences from the lives of ordinary Laotian people

There was actually a decent supermarket here that had Quaker Oatmeal Squares and Froot Loops; there were plenty of authentic local foods as well

There was actually a decent supermarket here that had Quaker Oatmeal Squares and Froot Loops; there were plenty of authentic local foods as well

Wat Syrimoungkoun; entering Laos from Thailand you can buy a visa on arrival for $35 USD if you bring a passport photo (it's $1 more if they have to provide the photo)

Wat Syrimoungkoun; entering Laos from Thailand you can buy a visa on arrival for $35 USD if you bring a passport photo (it's $1 more if they have to provide the photo)

Wat Siphoutthabath Tippharam; Luong Prabang was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos, until the Pathet Lao takeover in 1975

Wat Siphoutthabath Tippharam; Luong Prabang was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos, until the Pathet Lao takeover in 1975

Painted wall inside Wat Xieng Thong; there are no multinational fast food outlets in Laos but, in addition to popular street food, there were some nice, high-end restaurants here

Painted wall inside Wat Xieng Thong; there are no multinational fast food outlets in Laos but, in addition to popular street food, there were some nice, high-end restaurants here

The Lao language is pretty impossible to decipher but many (far from all) signs are also in English; the locals typically have very limited English language skills despite the large number of tourists

The Lao language is pretty impossible to decipher but many (far from all) signs are also in English; the locals typically have very limited English language skills despite the large number of tourists

Chapel hall at Wat Xieng Thong; with 3 nights at the same hotel it was easy to have laundry done here (and cheap at $1 for every 2 pounds)

Chapel hall at Wat Xieng Thong; with 3 nights at the same hotel it was easy to have laundry done here (and cheap at $1 for every 2 pounds)

Wat Tham Phu Si; this temple is located in a cave on the side of Phu Si hill that contains one of the oldest statues of Buddha, done in Pha Kachai style

Wat Tham Phu Si; this temple is located in a cave on the side of Phu Si hill that contains one of the oldest statues of Buddha, done in Pha Kachai style

Wat Pha Bang hosts the most sacred Buddha image in town; several in our group went bike riding and/or got cheap massages

Wat Pha Bang hosts the most sacred Buddha image in town; several in our group went bike riding and/or got cheap massages

Wat Sensoukarahm (1718); the town was the scene of many events during WW II and was occupied by several foreign countries (Vichy France, Thailand, Imperial Japan, Free France, and Nationalist China)

Wat Sensoukarahm (1718); the town was the scene of many events during WW II and was occupied by several foreign countries (Vichy France, Thailand, Imperial Japan, Free France, and Nationalist China)

Posted by VagabondCowboy 18:02

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