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Why Royal Palace is special ?
The Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos, was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. The site for the palace was chosen so that official visitors to Luang Prabang could disembark from their river voyages directly below the palace and be received there. After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the Crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the grounds. In 1975, the monarchy was overthrown by the communists and the Royal Family were taken to re-education camps. The palace was then converted into a national museum.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org
What to explore at Royal Palace?
Built in 1904, it features a blend of Lao traditional and French style. It was built for King Sisavang Vong and his family during the French colonial era.
In the palace compound, there are several buildings including the Royal Barge Shelter, a conference hall, and Haw Pha Bang (a ornate pavilion) that houses the standing Buddha statue called Prabang. In the pass the Prabang statue and many other religious artifacts were housed in the palace, the front wing.
The palace building can be visualised in three main parts: The front wing, consisting of reception areas; the throne hall (in the middle); and the back wing that was once residentialarea.
The front wing
The King’s reception hall at the right of the entrance now displays busts and paintings of the Lao monarchy along with two large gilded and lacquered Ramayana screens.
The walls of the room are decorated with murals depicting scenes of traditional Lao lifestyles, painted by a French artist back in the 1930s.
The room next to the right of the King’s reception hall displays a collection of the palace’s most prized art including a cast of the prized Pha Bang buddha statue in gold, silver and bronze.
On the left of the entrance hall the former secretary’s reception area now houses gifts from various heads of state to the Lao monarchy. Displayed objects are grouped by “socialist” and “capitalist” countries.
The room to the left of the secretary’s reception was once the Queen’s reception room. It now displays paintings of King Savang Vatthana, Queen Khamphoui and the crown Prince Vong Savang. Also displayed are friendship flags from China and Vietnam, and replicas of sculpture from the National Museum in New Delhi.
The throne hall
The throne hall connects the reception wing with the residential wing where the royal family’s bedrooms and living quarter were. The walls of this room are decorated with cut mirrored tile mosaics similar to those seen in the town’s oldest temple, Wat Xieng Thong. Displayed in the throne hall are the throne of the king and queen, the king’s elephant chair and glass cases containing many crystal Buddha images that were removed from Wat That Makmo.
The Back Wing (residential area)
The back wing was the royals’ residential area and includes bedrooms, a dining room, a library and a music and dance exhibits area displaying Lao classical instruments and masks.
The residential area has been preserved more or less as it was in 1975 before the royal family departed.
How to get to Royal Palace?
The Palace Museum is located on the Luang Prabang peninsula between the Mekong river and Mount Phousi. The main entrance is on Sisavangvong road. Most of the town can be reached on foot. A tuk tuk or jumbo ride from the center of town will cost between 10,000 (about US$ 1.30) and 15,000 Kip (about US$ 2).
- A mix of French and Lao styles
- Great collection of Laos History
- Worth spending some time
- An overview of the Kings of Laos
- Fascinating insight into Laos history
Luang Prabang, Laos
Tips for you
The palace is set in lovely gardens. The last royal family came to a very tragic end. The palace is now shown exactly how it was in their lifetime, there are several outfits worn by the family on show and all the rooms are as they were before the family left