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Lao Travel Blog: Heritage in Northern Laos

Posted by: Mr.ParaFin on 2015-08-30 22:32:39

Legend of Plain of jars, Laos

Xieng Khouang plain of jars has about 52 locations with more than 2,000 jars of different size. They are mainly located in three villages: Ang, Latsen, Sua. Among them, Ang village is mostly noticed for the number of 334 jars. The biggest jar has the diameter of 2.5m and 2.57 m high. Its weight could be tons. The smallest one is about an embrace. Most of the jars has no cover with different kinds of shape: square and round which is different with other jars.

Xieng Khoang is a province in the East North of Laos where the Truong Son range – border of Vietnam and Laos – began. Its area is 15,880km2. Its population is 262,000 people (2004). The average density is 17 people /km2. The height is 1200m above sea level. The weather here is cool with many high mountains. Xieng Khouang has seven districts. People here are from Thai, Hmong, Dao, and some Viet. Its argriculture is mainly water paddy, terraced field, castle raising, etc.

Pain of Jars (Laos: Thoong Hayhin) is located in the Xieng Khouang Plateau (25-30km from Phonesavanh) with the date of 2500 to 3000 years. There is lots of legend about plain of jars, which is not clear until now.

In 1930, Ms. Madelene Colani is a French archeologist who came to this plain. In the work of Mégalithes du Haunt – Laos, Ms. Colani wrote: “The age of these 334 jars are about 2.500 to 3.000. These are not the jars to keep wine because there is not any evidence of that.” Until discovered the earthen pot that contains skull and bone of human, Colani affirmed that: “Jars are the objects to contain relics (clothes, tools, axe, bow, and sword) of Puon people (one of the three ancient Laos people) after their death according to this clan’s customs. Plain of jar is the most dangerous archeologic place in the world. In the wartime of 1964-1973, American troops have dropped thousands of tons of bombs and mine. There are still many guests being hurt when they did not follow the instruction of going. Each person in this land suffers from 350 tons of bomb averagely. The biggest number of bomb is bomb with high destruction power. There are still bomb hole with the diameter of 10m and 4m deep. The second biggest number of bomb is fragmentation bomb in the shape of guava that is most dangerous in antipersonnel weapons. The other types of bombs and mines are not extricated until now.

Coming to plain of jar in Xieng Khouang, you, me and everybody would have chance to be nurtured in the giant jars which could not be found everywhere in the world, and enjoying the highland air of cool Xieng Khouang.

Viengxay caves

Viengxay Caves, Laos

More than 30 years since 1975, a system of nearly 500 caves and grottoes in Vieng Xay (north mountainous area of Laos), hiding places for revolution armies in America attack of Vietnam War, has become the favorite tourist attraction. About two days driving from Vientiane, the grottoes system was deep into the forest, but then it is changed to the underground city that is enough for 23,000 people. Although this is the hiding place for troops, there is a lot of stalls, schools, printing house and a hospital. According to Siphanh Vandouayang, the manager of Viengxay, most of the managemen board of Laos’s revolution have lived and worked here. Many years after the war, foreigner is not allowerd in this region. Nowadays, Laos’s government have transferred this place to the gold-mine for tourists. There are only seven grottoes – which are the settled place for leaders of Laos’s communist party – which are allowed to welcome guests. According to the development project of Vieng Xay, a bank, a garment factory, a bread stall, a broadcasting place that are waiting for restoring before welcoming the guests.

Many people said that if the tourist system of Vieng Xay were stable, the live of people who were in the war would be more prosperous. In addition, they are the very tour guides of Vieng Xay in the coming time.

Night Market in Laos

Night Market in Laos

In Lao language, “talat” means market, “Changkun” is night, but Vietnamese in Luang Phrabang call the night market in Laos “western market”. The foreign visitors really enjoy coming to this attractive destination.

The market is taken place in Si Savangvong Street in Pakam ancient town, which is like Hoi An ancient town of Vietnam. Its length is less than 1,000m, its width is about 6m. There is gold tower Phu Xixay in the opposite with Royal Palace, which was built in the end of 1804 on the top of the mountain of 329 stone stair cases in the middle of coconut trees and fragrant and color of flowers.

Wat Xieng Thoong Pagoda

Wat Xieng Thoong Pagoda, Laos

On the map, Nam Khan River looks like a stubborn child that is close to Me Kong River but still runs along parallel for a distance before joining his mother and creating a peninsula. In the beginning of peninsula, on the intersection of Me Kong and Nam Khan Rivers, there is a pagoda called Xieng Thoong.

Luang Phrabang has 36 pagodas but this is the most beautiful and ancient, and also the most important. It has the typical architecture of Laos with curved roof and near the ground. The furnitures inside are also the embossments which are sophisticated carved according to the Buddhist legend. The outer temples are also having beautiful embossments. In the peaceful noon, cool wind from Mekong River comes to this pagoda.

In New Year of Laos, the officials and authorities in this area process the Buddhist statue of Prabang from the museum to Wat Xieng Thoong to carry on the ritual of washing Buddha with Champak perfume. In the afternoon, you could back to Phou Si Mountain to enjoy the sunset in Me Kong River. From Phou Si, the sun is going to set would be profiled on Me Kong River between Phou Nang and Phou Thao. In a moment under the allowance of nature, you could witness two classifiers for sun: the upper classifier is majestic and the under classifier is sparkling on the river surface. The landscape looks like a magnificent gold-inlaid picture.

Luang Prabang Imperial City

Luang Prabang Imperial City, Laos

Luang Prabang is a familiar name for each time mentioning the name of neighboring country Laos. Luang Prabang is located in the North mountainous area of 300m above the sea level. It is also located beside two rivers Mekong and Nam Khan. Being the former imperial town of Lan Xang – land of thousands of elephant – that was established by Fa Ngum King in 1353, Luang Prabang is the formal imperial of Laos with many important temples and pagodas that are acknowledged by UNESCO for the world cultural heritage in 1995.

Luang Prabang is also like Vientiane: a small peaceful city. Though the visitors of this city could be more than Vientiane, it could not be called a crowded urban land. People come to Laos cannot help to taste Beer Laos, bamboo-tube rice and fish beside the Ou river with mighty mountains which increase the interesting.

The interesting of night market

When it is about night, you could find it is suitable for coming to the main city to the night market that is the pleasure of most of visitors. Stalls are close to each other on the street and only foot-passengers are allowed. Under the gold light, products are more beautiful and sparkling. The products are mainly Laos’s silk, sarong, colorful cloths to the handicrafts with different materials (sliver, stone, etc). Tourists could cover the stalls to enjoy the atmosphere as well as to witness people. It is also impossible to ignore the food region with various foods of Laos. The most popular is sticky rice that could be bought everywhere. Foods of Laos are cheap and hot. It is more crowded in night than in the morning due to the attraction of night market and fragrant of food from the food stalls.

Discovering the pagodas

Coming to Luang Prabang, you could not pass the temples and pagodas that is the centre of Buddhism in Laos. There are 35 different pagodas and temples in Laos and every of them are worth visiting. The most impression for me could be the gold pagoda Wat Xieng Thoong. The pagoda complexes are very harmonious and typical in Laos’s architecture./.

Like everywhere in Laos, monks are highly respected. Offering the foods for monks every morning is considered the happiness and bless for everyone. Each pagoda in Luang prabang is livelier with tours of people on their knee offer foods for the monks every morning. Climbing 300 stairs to Phou Si is the indispensable ritual to coming to come to Luang Phrabang of every visitor. This mighty mount is right in the centre of the city that is opposite to the royal palace. From the above, city looks like a fairy in her dream who is flying in her sould. In addition, the eclipse comes, Phou Si mount would right in the hand of visitors, each time period is different moment of dream. National museum, a quiet cool atmosphere with the range of tree, lakes with flowers and coconut tree range. The more beautiful and grandiose part is the Sala Pha Bang pagoda with the statue of Pha Bang – gift from King Khmer for King Fa Ngum on his inauguration.

Tours in Laos

• Vientiane – Luang Prabang – 5 Days/ 4 Nights
• Luang Prabang – Vientiane – 5 Days/ 4 Nights
• Hidden Delights of Laos – 4 Days/ 3 Nights
• Laos Sightseeing – 4 Days/ 3 Nights
• Laos Intangible Charms – 4 Days/ 3 Nights
• Luang Prabang – 3 Days/ 2 Nights
• Ancient Laos – 4 Days/ 3 Nights
• Miracle Of The North – 6 Days/ 5 Nights
• Amazing Laos – 6 Days/ 5 Nights