At Patuxai, we said goodbye to Mr Som our trusted Tuk2 driver and henceforth, continued our journey on foot, we walked to Talat Sao (morning market) -although it was already no longer morning lah
We passed stalls that sells herbs, food stalls etc and inside the market was a big section selling touristy stuff ( some of the items looked like what you might also find in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam )
From the market , we headed towards the bus station to check out bus tickets to Luang Prabang but was told by the lady at the counter that the tickets were sold at another station. There was some promotional thingy going on at the red canopies set up at the grounds of the station, Akon can be heard singing over the PA.
We braved the sun and the trusted GPRS – HC my traveling companion who is great at map reading, directed us towards Haw Prakeow.
We paid the entrance fee ( 5,000kip) and saw this beautiful view
Ho Prakeow ( Emerald Hall Buddha)
below info extracted from : http://asiaforvisitors.com/laos/vientiane/hoprakeo/index.html
This building was once the private chapel of the King of Laos, and the only surviving part of the old royal palace. The chapel was built around 1535 to house the Emerald Buddha image, which was obtained from the Lanna capital of Chiang Mai . The image was housed here for nearly 250 years before Chaopraya Chakri – the future King Rama I – of Siam recaptured the image a took it back to Thailand and the new capital of Bangkok . In fact, the original Ho Prakeo was almost completely destroyed when the Siamese went to war with Laos again around 1828, and sacked the capital of Vientiane. It was restored with French help in the late 1930s.
There were many bronze Buddha statues surrounding the walkway of the hall
The entrance to the hall with the grand and intricate columns
Inside the hall ( no photography) , there were more Buddha statues in various postures, various sizes, made from wood, bronze etc , some with missing limbs
The oldest Buddha statue ( said to be since 5 BC) is placed at the entrance
View a videoclip of Haw Prakeow – click here
We were in a bit of a rush to exit Haw Prakeow as the temples closed at 4 pm and it’s already 3:45pm which means we must head towards Wat Si Saket ( across the road) – FAST.
Similarly, paid 5,000 kip for the entrance fee
Excerpts from http://www.asiaexplorers.com/laos/watsisaket.htm
Officially known as Wat Sisaketsata Sahatsaham, it is Vientiane’s oldest temple still in its original form. Wat Si Saket was built by Chao Anuvong, the last king of the Lan Xang Kingdom, in 1818 in the early Bangkok style, when Laos was a vassal of Siam. Probably due to its architectural style, when the Siamese attacked and destroyed Vientiane in 1828, Wat Si Saket was relatively spared, making it the oldest original temple in Vientiane today.
The Ordination Hall ( sim)
During our visit, part of the sim was being covered for restoration work, just hope that the temple will still maintain it’s original flavour after this massive project.
The most fascinating thing about Wat Si Saket is what is housed at the cloister that surrounds the ordination hall – three rows of ( larger) Buddha images and at the wall behind these- pigeon holes ( the correct word is – niches) housing smaller Buddha images .
On the western side of the cloister we saw a collection of broken images – the result of the Siamese-Laotion war of 1828, these were discovered during excavations in support of restoration.
This wooden device ( with some happy looking Nagas) is used during the Lao New Year celebrations to pour cleansing water over the Buddha images.
Tucked away in a corner, with the rows of stupas containing the ashes from cremation – we saw the nearly completed restored library
Offerings to the dearly departed
View a videoclip of Wat Si Saket , click here