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Nearby Attraction: Town of Luang Prabang

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The Emerald Waterfall that I've fallen in Love
Cascading Kuang Si Waterfall during Early Winter

The cascading emerald waterfall in the limestone basin among the forest outside the heritage town tempts the visitors to come to swim and enjoy a lot of freshness. Who can ignore great fun activity waiting there?

I booked a flight from Bangkok to Luang Prabang in early November. Although the influence of the rainy season is somewhat, I walk through the sizzle rain in Luang Pra Bang until almost fever. But to make sure Kwang Si waterfall would still be full of water. This time is the best of the trip.

Kuang Si Waterfall Parking Lot and Market

 It was a sunny day, dry and cool weather. Beginning of waterfall trip, started at the parking lot, through the park entrance into a bear conservation camp before reaching the waterfall area where allowing visitors to swim safely. Highlight of the place is the large cascading waterfall, strong currents, falling into the bottom with a bang and beauty.

Walkway Surrounded by Forest

 From here, there is a pathway to upper waterfalls and deep forests. As limited time, there is not much tourists spend time with this trail.

Laos is rich with several perfect waterfalls. Natural environment and a few millions of population in this country, waterfalls are still filled with enormous amounts of water. My Southern Laos trip a few years ago, I couldn’t see the waterfall even standing in close proximity. It was so foggy from the high amount of falling water attack the basin.

Besides the waterfall, my favorite thing in Laos is grilled bananas sold at waterfall sites. Fresh, very tasty, recommend.

Kuang Si Waterfall Half-Day Tour 45,000 KIP at my hotel tours desk
From 14.00 PM to 18.00 PM (Morning shift also available)
Admission fee not included (20,000 KIP)

Landmarks: Town of Luang Prabang

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Wat Xiang Thong, Royal Palace Museum and Phou Si
Wat Chiang Thong

The wealth of Luang Prabang culture since its establishment as the capital of the Lan Xang kingdom from the 14th century to the present, shining in various parts from Buddhist arts, decoration and architecture, visitors should spend a lot of time indulging them.

Wat Xiang Thong
The most important temple of Laos, their ubosot is the top tier of Lan Xang architecture. The exterior walls of viharn are decorated with depicted colorful gliding glasses. Wooden carving of gables, doors and windows of the royal carriage pavilion are detailing.

Admission fee 20,000 KIP

Royal Palace Museum

Royal Palace Museum
This landmark is my most favorite. Valuable items showcase is the masterpiece with the history of the late Lao Dynasty.

Apart from the palace, the area also includes the pavilion enshrining “Pra Bang” the most importance Buddha image of Laos. Unfortunately, the museum offers Buddhists worship only from the outside.

Opposite to the pavilion is the royal theatre. Tourists can book tickets to the Khon performance (Ramayana ballet) shown in the evening. (Only date and time as announced on the board)

Admission fee 30,000 KIP

Chedi, Phou Si 

Phou Si
The front entrance is facing the Royal Palace Museum. This statue has two entrances leading to the top of the hill. The front entrance is less steep than the back entrance. Going down by the back side leads you through the winding steps of the monastery and watching Buddhist monks doing activities along the way are interesting.

At the top of the hill is composed of chedi containing the Buddha relics, little pavilion and the outdoor terrace. Nearly all the tourists are congregated here at sunrise and sunset. If you avoid such times and nice weather available, you will be given an opportunity to enjoy Luang Prabang in the wide angle, the mountains, the lush green trees, Mekong River, Nam Khan River and the town are amazing.

Admission fee 20,000 KIP

Viharn, Wat Siphoutthabath

Hidden Gems: Wat Siphoutthabath
The temple is located next to the famous bar IKON CLUB. The ground area is the site of a small viharn, poor condition but charming. The base of the building, there are drains decorated with stucco molds, mythical human opening mouth by hands, such lovely design.

Town of Luang Prabang

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The Beautiful Traditional Lao and French Colonial Architecture
UNESCO: Luang Prabang Main Road, Haw Prabang on the Left

Luang Prabang is located at the confluence of Mekong River and Namkhan River. Amidst the harsh mountains and terrain, former capital of Lan Xang Kingdom was on the Silk Road to China.

This ancient town is well known for its harmonious blend of Buddhism and French architecture. We see many temples, buildings and housings. On the day when tourists from all over the world came to visit this town, elegance accommodations, chic cafes, fine dining restaurants and souvenir shops, they became into parts of the town.

On the way of people’s life, every morning, the villagers came to the roadside with freshly cooked glutinous rice to put on a monk's alms bowl. Traditionally here, food will be presented to the monks at the temple later.

Mekhong River

Three sides of a compact urban area that is easily reached by 2 rivers. The Mekong River is a way that leads people from northern districts, starting from Huai Sai opposite Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai Province of Thailand to Luang Prabang by slow boat that takes 2 days and 1 night traveling hours.

The Namkhan River, which is a smaller river, along the banks of the river is the area where the villagers have grown local crops when the water in the river drops low in certain seasons.

Colonial Building, French and Lao Blend

Lao traditional houses built with hardwood. When mixed with French influences, it is a magnificent architectural elegance with a gentle hint. Build on a well-planned western urban layout. This town was built during the 19th and 20th centuries, during French colonial era.

In the middle of the town there is a hill “Phou Si”, where the chedi and temple are located. It is believed that the highest sanctuary is the statue of angels guarding the town.

Future World Heritage Sites of Bangkok.

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Did you know that the tourism sector in Thailand significantly contributes to the kingdom’s GDP? In 2015 alone, Thai received approximately 30 million visitors, which was a 20% increase from the previous year. The main attractions in Thai include archaeological sites, sandy beaches, museums, Buddhist temples, the city of Bangkok, and several World Heritage Sites.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) generally selects landmark sites on the basis of having historical, cultural, scientific, or any other form of significance and they are protected by international treaties. Internationally, there are 962 properties in the world proclaimed by UNESCO that are part of the natural and cultural heritage considered as possessing outstanding universal value by the World Heritage Committee.

Thailand is exceedingly famous for having a high number of ancient cities and historical sites from different eras in history. Some of the oldest sites date back to hundreds and thousands of years to even Neolithic times. They are of vital importance, and some of these sites have been included in UNESCO’s world heritage list.

In Thailand, these five leading heritage sites are located north and north-east of the country. They include; the Historic City of Ayutthaya, the Historic Town of Sukhothai and its Associated Historic Towns, Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries, Ban Chiang Archaeological Site and the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex. Other sites have been forwarded and listed on UNESCO’s tentative list. Ideally, this means that they are to be considered and made World Heritage Sites in the future. These sites include Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworamahawihan and the Great Swing, and the Architecture of HRH Prince Narisara Nuvattiwongse. They are discussed below in detail.

1.    Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworamahawihan
The Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworamahawihan refers to a Buddhist temple situated in Bangkok, Thailand. As one of ten similar temples in Bangkok, it is a royal temple and of the oldest and largest (covering 10 acres) in Bangkok. The temple’s construction began in 1782 by King Rama I and lasted for decades. It was finally completed in 1847 during the reign of King Rama III.  Situated in front of this temple is a welcoming pavilion for any visiting heads of state, a memorial for King Rama III and the Mahakala Fortress.

The Wat Suthat hosts the viharn, one of the oldest era buildings still in existence which hosts the most famous image of the Buddha. Moreover, the buildings long walls display magnificent mural paintings which tell stories of the Buddha’s previous lives. Some of these extraordinary paintings also depict scenes of daily life images in the Rattanakosin era. There are also artsy, carved wooden doors at every entry which contain pictures some of which were done by the second King Rama who was a talented artist and poet.

Giant Swing

2.    The Giant Swing.
Sometimes, the Wat Suthat is referred to as the temple of the giant swing. This is because of the massive red swing found in from of the temple known as the Sao Ching Chaa. This 20 meter high, teak wooden swing is a religious structure that was constructed at the end of the 18th century. It was used during the annual Brahmanic ceremonies.

During these ceremonies, several groups of young men competed against each other and tried to swing as high as they possibly could to grab with their teeth a parcel of gold coins which was attached to a 15-meter bamboo pole. However, there were too many fatal accidents reported from the activity, and this led to the swing ceremony being canceled.

The pillars of the Giant Swing are said to represent mountains while the swing’s circular base represents the seas and the earth.

Phra Ubosot Wat Benchamabophit

3.   The Architecture of HRH Prince Narisara Nuvattiwongse.
Prince Narisara Nuvattiwongse is famously remembered for designing the crest for the European – style government ministries and his input in the design of some of the temples and schools in Bangkok, Thailand.

Among some of HRH Prince, Narisara Nuvattiwongse’s architecture includes the Wat Benchamabophit which is famously known for being the first temple in all of Thailand to be constructed out of Carrara marble. The Western Ministries of Architecture have described the temple as a defining example of a modern Buddhist temple. It features a great collection of Bronze images of the Buddha and represents every era of religious art in Thailand.  There is also the Wat Benchamabophit School which was constructed in Western style and the Phra Ubosot Wat Rachativas, another marble temple built combining Thai styles and the Western Culture.  

Guest Post 15.03.2017          

Eat&Buy: Borobudur & Prambanan Visit 3

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Nasi Campur, Hani's Bakery, Yogyakarta

Famous cuisine in Yogyakarta is Gudeg, made from jack fruit.  Unfortunately, I missed it. Outstanding dish I adorn is Nasi Campur. The roadside sweet I love is Klepon.

Hani’s Bakery, International Village, Jalan Sosrowijayan
Both food and beverages are recommended. They serve both Indonesian and Western. Their bakery is good too. I ordered Nasi Campur and apple pie, not disappointed.

Bludok, Jalan Sosrowijayan
This restaurant and B&B is listed in the guidebooks. Their place is a white building with terrace. Lamb dish in Chinese name is good and big portion.
Roadside Indonesian Sweets, Pasar Beringhajo

Dessert Hawker in front of Pasar Beringharjo
Selling local sweets made from flour. Klepon ball is awesome as 500 per piece.

Vai Vai Café
The most famous international café on Jalan Pawirotaman, menu is diverse compared to other restaurants. Staffs are very helpful. Bakery look nice.
Pasar Beringharjo, Yogyakarta

For shopping
Jalan Malioboro is the centre for souvenirs such as batik, wooden handicrafts and sweets. At weekend, it is very crowded.

Pasar Beringharjo
This market is large, selling a lot of things from fresh meat to fashion items. They divided into many zones under the roof.

Batik Galleries around Taman Sari (Water Castle)
We can get in Taman Sari in many entrances. It is surrounded by local communities and batik galleries. Batik at these shops look nice from creative and unique design.