Things to See and Do - Continued
Temples are definately one of the prime highlights of Luang Prabang. The Temples have a history as far back as the 16th century and there are more than 30 throughout the town. For a time, the temples or wats were the only structures allowed to be constructed of brick. The wats contain some fabulous statues of Buddha, mural paintings and sculpture.
One of the more unusual buildings in Luang Prabang is the Royal Palace. The palace was constructed from about 1904 to 1909 and is now a museum. The building was designed by the French during the colonial period and was the home of King Sisavang Vong. This explains the blend of european and Lao architecture. Over the entrance sites a three-headed elephant, symbolizing the three kingdoms of Laos while the pillars bear French fleur-de-lys emblems. Lao guilded furniture sits in rooms with Italian marble stairs and european mirrors. The Palace served as a residence for the King until the end of the monarchy in 1975.
Finding a place to sleep
There is no shortage of places to stay in Luang Prabang and any of the guide books will provide you with a treasure trove of ideas to fit any budget. Guesthouses can be as low as US$5/night and the finest hotels may be as much as US$100/night. We stayed at a fantastic hotel in Luang Prabang, the Villa Santi. We can recommend it in terms of quality, location and pricing. It is one of the best places in town and the service was very good. It is located on the main street and was about 1/2 of what a Holiday Inn would cost in most cities in the U.S. The rooms were best in the annex building. The hotel has a popular restaurant, because we are told the chef (or chef's family) once worked for the royal family. We did not come to Luang Prabang to have banana flambe, so left the restaurant to the euro-tour set and ate 95% of our meals at other places. The rooms however were top notch, clean and comfortable with hot water and air con.
Villa Santi Sakkarine Road,
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