Formal Royal Palace and bye bye to Land of Million Elephants
Luang Prabang Travel Blog› entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
April 23rd, 2010 – by: Vanessa_Mun_Yee
This morning, Kent picked us up to visit the morning wet market which was just an alley by the side of our hotel! There were local vegetables, fishes from Mekong River, chickens, life frogs, clothes…I can’t imagine people eat frogs, that sounds disgusting. We walked all the till its end and we came to the National Museum!
National Museum is a formal Royal Palace built in 1904 during the French colonial. In 1975, the king was overthrown by the communist. The King’s family was sent to re-educational camp.
There was a statue of the formal king and 2 cannons on the entrance of the palace. Before we enter the palace, we had to remove our shoes, place our bags and camera in the locker that located by the side of the palace. Please take note - no camera allowed in the palace!
In side the palace, there was king’s reception hall, queen reception hall, kitchen, king’s bedroom, queen’s bed room. What I think a little unusual was the king and queen has separate bedroom. However there were many doors in side king’s bed room and one of them connected to the queen’s bedroom.
What amazed me was, it wasn’t luxury. The whole palace is very simple, except there were murals painted by the French and Russian artist. I was expecting chandeliers, glittering decoration in a Royal Palace. The other thing that surprises me was - no toilet in the palace! Can you believe this? The toilet is outside the palace! I have not seen one toilet inside the palace and when I asked the guide, he told me the toilet is outside. I asked him again “You mean when the king needed to use the toilet middle in the night, he has to go out of the palace?” “YES!”
I am not sure if he was joking or the public are not allowed to use the toilet inside the palace.
One more thing a tourist should take note is the dress code. We are not allowed to show our arms and thighs. It was 41Cº/106Fº. I felt extremely uneasy. I wore a sleeveless shirt with a light jacket. When I got into the palace (non-air condition) I removed my jacket. One lady inside the palace said something to our guide. She wanted me to wear my jacket - Ooops, my bad!
Outside the palace, we saw people are building a nice and big Laos style pavilion. Kent told us they have been building this for 10 years now. When I asked why take so long to build. He told me is “Art”. I was like - Ok. The pavilion is for “Prabang Buddha”
The next one in the agenda is Silk factory. Last minute shopping before we leave Laos!
Again we saw how these people make cloth from silk worms.
Off we back to the hotel to check out. Since we were not allowed to extend our stay in the room till 3pm, we had our luggage “stored” at the hotel. We went out form lunch and were surprise to see our luggages were lying on the floor next to the check in table. Every one who walked by it could lay a hands on our bags! Oh well, maybe we had to get used to the fact that Laos people won’t steal! I once walked by a table and saw money lying around where no body was there!
While visiting the temples, our guide told us about rules to practice by the local.
The heat was wearing me down! We just didn’t feel like going anyway but stayed in doors. However, there was no air conditioner in the lobby! I couldn’t even touch Charlie because we were so warm! The power went off suddenly - SWEET! The only source of cooling - the electrical table fan went off! I was like - NO! NOT NOW!!! We couldn’t wait to go to the airport thinking that airport would be cooler. Finally, Kent showed up 15 minutes earlier to bring us to the airport.
Luang Prabang airport is pretty small. The check in counter has a traditional weighing scale for the bags! The airport was not any cooler then the hotel. They may have some air-conditioning but we hardly feel it. We went inside the waiting room hopefully it got cooler….Unfortunately it felt the same.
We love Luang Prabang, but no so much about the heat. We will still go back to Luang Prabang, but we will pick the right season, which is between Nov - Feb. It could get as low as 10Cº/50Fº.
Loa Air landed smoothly in Hanoi. Due to the previous experience, we knew exactly where to go for Charlie’s visa on arrival application. It took about 10minutes to have the visa done this time! Our travel agent did a good job.
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