It was a really really hot day in Luang Prabang, well, not that I will be cycling about in KL under the mid day sun – what a good excuse to have a fruit shake, after trying the various fruit combination, I think the best was still mixed fruit –dragon fruit, mango, pineapple, apple, orange etc etc. Some of the fruit shake stall will have the fruits cut and packed in the plastic cup, and we will just need to point to any of the cups with the fruit that you fancy and then they will blend that – add a bit of milk ( some add coconut milk too) , sugar syrup etc…heavenly….
After the refreshing fruit shake, we decide to hide from the sun by visiting the National Museum (former Royal Palace), a lovely building blending French and Laos architecture.
Read more about it here : http://www.culturalprofiles.net/laos/Units/153.html
Extracts : Built by the French colonial government for King Sisavangvong between 1904 and 1909 on the foundations of a much older palace building, the former Royal Palace was taken over by the revolutionary government in 1975 and reopened to the public as a national museum on 13 March 1976.
We paid 30,000 kip each ( ~RM12) for the entrance ticket, lockers were provided to store our cameras/bags etc. The items on display include gifts from countries to the King, books from China ( gifts from 1968 – well, at this rate, I could be a museum piece too lah), the funniest we saw was a space explorer thingy gift from the US, which looked like it was made from milk tins- guess it was probably impressive at that time guarr ?
Behind the museum, there was a collection of motorcars used by the King and an art exhibition titled ‘The Floating Buddha’ – beautiful photos..a woman with hair just shorn, teardrops on her face, shorn hairs on her shoulder ; a hand rubbing flower petals on a young nun bald head and many more, felt my eyes watering looking at these beautiful pictures.
From the Museum, we cycled to Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham – built in 1796 by King Anourout, is the biggest Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang. When I look at the structure , I was rather confused, as it seemed like one third of the temple is facing one way and the other two third is facing another direction
Well, turn out that it was a very elaborate front veranda of the main sim. I was in awe of the elaborate black and gold stenciled columns at the veranda
We sat at the stone benches , taking in the view of the Wat Mai and then at 4pm, we saw 2 novice heading towards the drum tower. One started to beat on the drum and the other on a cymbal like equipment, it was a simple rhythm but rather mesmerizing, the drum beating activity must be tiring work, as they changed 3 novices within the 10 minutes.
Read more about Wat Mai here : http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/laos/luangprabang/wat-mai.php
For dinner that day, we enjoyed a Laotian BBQ meal, which was rather similar to steamboat/teppanyaki combination. The stall is along the row of stalls along the Mekong bank, you won’t miss it as it’s one of it’s kind around this region.
Firstly, load the charcoal
Pour enough soup into the holding area part of the ‘stove’ and rub some fat on the BBQ area
Cook the thinly sliced beef over the fire
We paid 40,000kip for the meal.Overall, I find this average only , more for the novelty of it than anything
NB: if you have the chance try the banana fritters sold at this stall, they are delicious !