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Stop At: Royal Palace Museum, Haw kham, Luang Prabang 0600 Laos
The ancient town of Luang Prabang situated in northern Laos, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Considered by many travellers and writers as being the heart of Laotian culture, the tiny town is encircled by mountains and is 700 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. Here visitors are subjected to an inflamed economic bubble that does not apply to the rest of the country. Being Laos' premier tourist destination and (arguably) Southeast Asia's most beautiful spot, ironically tourists will pay more for the innate pleasures of eating, drinking and sleeping than they would in the country's capital city Vientiane. Luang Prabang was the ancient royal capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom until King Phothisarat moved the administrative seat to Vientiane in 1545. Regardless, it has continued to overlook Vientiane as the destination of choice with its amalgamation of crumbling French architecture, glistening temples and extensive natural beauty. Even the hardest of hearts would have a struggle not to warm to the place. The town's entire historical section is dedicated to tourism, with everything from former royal palaces to over 33 Wats (temples), on the tourist trail. This former Royal capital still remains the main centre for Buddhist learning in Laos and is the perfect location for spiritual contemplation. One of Luang Prabang’s most famous sites, these limestone caves near the Mekong have been a place of worship for more than a thousand years.
Pak ou caves: One of the most respected holy sites in Lao; Pak Ou Caves have a history dating back thousands of years. Packed with over 4,000 Buddha icons, the caves, a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha, are set in a dramatic limestone cliff at the point where the Mekong joins the Nam Ou River. There are two caves to visit, the lower cave called Tham Ting and the upper cave Tham Theung, both boasting miniature Buddhist figures that are mostly made from wood.
Phousi (Sacred Hill) is the geographical as well as spiritual centre of the city. Believed to have once harboured a powerful naga who dwelt in its bowels, the hill is also seen as a miniature Mount Meru, the Mount Olympus of Hindu-Buddhist cosmology. Though there is nothing to see on the hill itself, save for an ancient-looking sim at its foot, Phousi is striking from a distance. Indeed, the golden spires of That Chomsi at its summit are the first glimpse of the city that visitors get if they are arriving by boat or plane
8:30 AM Depart from hotel
8:40 Royal Palace Museum
10:00 Visit cave by boat, Ban Xang Hai
13:00 Pak Ou Caves
15:30 Wat Mai
16:00 Wat Xieng Thong
16:30 Wat Visunnalat
17:00 Sunset watch at Phousi
20:00 Tour ends at hotel
Duration: 8 hours