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Royal Palace Museum

2,386 Reviews

Royal Palace Museum

2,386 Reviews
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Haw kham Old Quarter, Luang Prabang 0600 Laos
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Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Fall Day Tour
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Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Fall Day Tour

32 reviews
See the beauty and hidden wonders of Laos on this Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Falls day tour. Follow your friendly local guide through the streets of Luang Prabang, then make your way along the Mekong River to the Buddha-filled caves of Pak Ou. You'll visit a rural village where locals make rice wine and see how indigenous people live. Next, head to the stunning waterfalls of Kuang Si and savor a picnic lunch in one of the country's most picturesque destinations.
$139.00 per adult
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LuizDutraNeto wrote a review Oct 2020
Rio de Janeiro, RJ8,110 contributions1,401 helpful votes
You are at "Haw Kham" (literally, the "Golden Palace" in English), the former "Royal Palace" of the Kingdom of Laos. It was built around 1904, blending characteristics of Lao traditional motifs with French Beaux-Arts architectural styles. In 1975, the Lao revolution took over the palace and, in 1995, it was converted into the "National Museum" (or "Royal Palace Museum"). The complex comprises various buildings, but the most iconic is the one located at the right hand corner of the palace grounds, an ornated gilted pavillion, known as "Haw Pha Bang" - the home of the sacred "Phra Bang Buddha" - a statue of 83 cm in height, weighting 50 kg, and venerated as the most sacred and culturally significant Buddha image in Laos. According to legends, it dates from the 1st century and was brought from Sri Lanka, being considered a symbol of the Royal Lao Dinasty. Still in the Royal Palace complex, you can visit the reception rooms, conference hall, theater, library, music and dancing room, the "Throne Hall" and the collections of "Crown Jewels" and "Royal Cars". And if you still have some spare time, visit the "Royal Barge Shelter", the "Royal Family Residential Quarters" and the temporary exhibitions. The history of Laos will be in front of your eyes! Enjoy!
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Fran R wrote a review Aug 2020
Zurich, Switzerland373 contributions75 helpful votes
it is part odf the history buildings are nice Make sure you are dressed appropriately - shoulders, knees etc should be covered - as usual and expected in regions with Buddhism
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Scott B wrote a review Aug 2020
Sydney, Australia427 contributions66 helpful votes
Here is the palace of the king. Toppled in 1975, he died in prison. The stewards here were not sure what they were hoping to achieve. You were strictly forbidden from taking photos. The nomenclature used throughout (both written and spoken) is what we now readily parody. It's like the doublespeak used by former communist nations. It is still evidently in wide use here. I don't wish to mock the poor English interpretative signage throughout the museum (let's be honest my ability to read and write Laotion was not exactly helping) but when it was combined with such phrases as"revolutionary duty", "historical necessity" and "supremacy of the working class" it was hard to hold back a giggle. While it didn't actually feature phrases such as "imperial running dog" and "fascist scum" you could certainly see them from there. I'm pleased I went. Students of history will love it, for a variety of reasons.
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Date of experience: April 2020
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OrderintheHouse wrote a review Jul 2020
Brisbane1,968 contributions80 helpful votes
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In January 2020, my wife and I embarked on a short 5 day private Wendy Wu “Laos in Focus” tour in January 2020 arranged through Asia DMC Laos as part of an 18 day Asian adventure celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. Our three nights in Luang Prabang enabled us to see some interesting attractions, one of which was the National Museum of Luang Prabang or Royal Palace Museum. Our visit was wedged between two dedicated but very pleasing temple visits - Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham. Thus the National Museum visit gave us a welcome respite from another total temple experience, offering a snapshot of Lao history and the influence of the former Royal family. Built in 1904, the Museum features a blend of Lao traditional and French style. It was built for King Sisavang Vong and his family during the French colonial era. After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the palace. After the revolution in 1975, the building was taken over by the government. The palace was then converted into a national museum and opened to the public in 1995. We commenced our tour by visiting a relatively new ornate pavilion (completed in 2003) known as Haw Pha Bang ( or Hor Prabang) built in the traditional Lao style. It has extensive glass and gold decoration. It is set on a multi level raised platform with stairways that lead to the entrance of the Buddha hall which incorporates multi headed mythological Naga serpents on the side parapets of the stairways. This is a very impressive feature. The inside hall houses the Phra Bang Buddha, 83 centimetres tall and several hundred years old, in the Abhaya mudra, a gesture representing fearlessness. The image is Khmer in origin and cast using an alloy of bronze, gold and silver. The Phra Bang is regarded as the most sacred and culturally significant Buddha image in Laos. It is probably for this reason that our tour guide asked us not to take a photo of this Buddha image, a request we observed with the utmost respect. We could however, take photos of other aspects of the building. Our next feature was the imposing statue of King Sisavang Vong, standing proudly on a 2 metre high stone plinth in front of the Conference Hall. The main attraction on the complex of course was the Palace Museum building which is viewed in three parts - the front wing, consisting of reception areas; the throne hall (in the middle); and the back wing that was once a residential area. While it is an imposing building , we felt on the outside it looks a little run down and could do with a repaint in places. Above the entrance is a three-headed elephant sheltered by the sacred white parasol, the symbol of the Lao monarchy. The steps to the entrance are made of Italian marble. There are, however, a few cultural rules which travellers need to be aware of before visiting this building, namely - No photography is allowed inside the museum No bags are allowed and lockers are provided near the entrance to store these. Shoes must be removed. Visitors are required to dress conservatively. We understand that women with short shorts or skirts are required to put on a Lao skirt before entering and that Lao skirts are available for hire. While some travellers may question these local courtesies , as visitors we are guests in Laos and we do need to respect our host’s wishes. By and large most travellers understand this principle and accept it all with good grace. The historical exhibits in the Museum are impressive. The King’s reception hall at the right of the entrance displays busts and paintings of the Lao monarchy along with two large gilded and lacquered Ramayana screens. Included in the Throne Hall are the throne of the king and queen and the king’s elephant chair. In the back wing the residential area has been essentially preserved as it was in 1975 before the royal family departed. This area includes bedrooms, a dining room and a library. What would have made the visit even better for me would have been a few seats for visitors to sit on to rest in between viewing the many exhibits. Other than that it was an enjoyable visit. We then visited another small building housing the royal car collection, mostly American cars from the 1950s to 1970s. Again we were asked not to take photos, which was a pity in this case, as the cars were maintained in immaculate condition and were worth having a record to show to friends later. Finally we visited a building housing two interesting wooden carriages painted red and gold and created by a Mr Manivong Kathinyarath in 2011. One of the carriages is the “Carriage of the Prabang Buddha” which annually carries the Prabang Buddha image from the National Museum to Wat Mai temple where it stays for a few days. The other is the "Carriage of Monk" used to carry a monk at every Lao New Year Parade in mid April from Wat Thatnoi temple to Wat Xiengthong temple. They are both beautifully crafted and are housed in this building side by side. We were here for well over an hour and we gained insight and a better understanding of the history of the former Lao Royalty. There were so many historical exhibits on display. It was a great visit and one not to be missed.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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bhodgkinson wrote a review Jun 2020
Preston, United Kingdom241 contributions89 helpful votes
The palace is the former residence of the royal family. I arrived just as the afternoon opening started - so it was not too busy. All bags must be left in lockers and no shoes inside. There is also no photography allowed - but the museum is worth a visit whilst in Luang Prabang.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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