Into the Spiritual Heart of Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang Wat Xieng ThongAssisted by our expert guides, guests are introduced to the deeply spiritual nature of this serene country.  We visit the ancient temple of Wat Mano or Wat Thatluang in Luang Prabang where a senior monk is renowned for dispelling evil and has performed a number of important ceremonies to protect local people from bad spirits.  Later in the day we stop at a meditation centre to learn more about this calming practice before transferring to a nearby village.  Here we board a boat to cross the Mekong River to an ancient temple located in the middle of a tranquil forest.  At the temple we sit down with the monks and novices to learn more about their daily practices.  Later in the day we visit a riverside fishing village to meet locals and discover the laid back traits of rural Lao life.  Don’t forget your camera as it is a great opportunity to capture a deeper reflection of Lao Culture.  Guests are welcomed in the village with a traditional Laotian Baci ceremony.  ‘Baci’ plays an important role even today to welcome or farewell, bring good luck and ward of bad spirits for any major event in the life of local people.

A stay in Luang Prabang is included in World Discovery’s ‘Laos Discovery’ tour

Traditional Textiles in Laos

Ock Tock ClockRenowned textile boutique shop Ock Pop Tock continues to lead the field in Luang Prabang in the production of traditional Lao textiles.   The store offers textiles and material which are either made in Luang Prabang or at its Living Crafts Centre, in collaboration with rural Lao artisans through the company’s Village Weaver Projects.  The main objective is to keep the traditional weaving techniques alive for future generations as well as displaying the unique beauty of Lao textiles.

A variety of textiles are on display, each coming with motifs crafted from generation to generation by local master weavers to give an insight into the culture and history that influence the designs.  Both traditional and more modern designs are featured in the showroom and include intricate wall hangings, silk scarves, pillow collections and also showcases its latest range of modern hemp and cotton garments designed for both men and women.

World Discovery’s Laos Express tour includes 3 nights in Luang Prabang.

Lao, French and Persian Inspired Azerai Hotel Opens in Luang Prabang

Two-thirds of Laos is covered in rugged mountains, and within these mountains you will find some of Asia’s most charming towns and cities.  Luang Prabang is one of the lesser known and beautifully preserved living heritage sites in the world.  The peninsula town is located in the north of Laos, 388 kilometres from the capital Vientiane.  Formerly the capital of Laos, it has a spiritual soul that many are drawn to and is recognised as a cultural and religious centre for Theravada Buddhism.  It is also a town that is home to a growing number of refined, architecturally respectful and excellently serviced hotels.  The new Azeri Luang Prabang is one of them.

The first buildings on Azerai Luang Prabang’s unique site were unveiled over 100 years ago in 1914, on French National Day. They were designed as French officers’ quarters and were later adapted by the Laos government.  The 53 room hotel seen here today was inspired by the town’s traditional Lao and French colonial architectures, built around a leafy courtyard with a 25-metre pool, surrounded by comfortable loungers and an old shade-bearing Banyan tree with a sacred legacy.

http://www.world-discovery.co.uk/destinations/laos-holidays_7.htm

 

Laos – Asia’s forgotten gem

Plain of JarsIn French colonial times Laos was considered the earthly paradise of South-east Asia, a vast landlocked Tahiti just awaiting its Gauguin.

Despite the turmoil of the late 20th century, Laos retains today the easy going peaceful atmosphere that so captivated the French, and its friendly gentle people are keen to welcome visitors to their beautiful country. You’ll soon understand why travellers affectionately know Laos P.D.R as “Laos – Please Don’t Rush”.

World Discovery’s brand new Undiscovered Laos tour includes not only the relatively well known cities of Vientiane, the capital, and Luang Prabang with its gilded temples, but also takes in the more remote and little visited region of Northern Laos, well off the normal tourist track.

Discover authentic hilltribes living in simple villages amidst stunning mountain scenery, enjoy gentle treks through ricefields and forested hillsides, and visit an elephant camp where you’ll discover the privileged role elephants play in Lao culture.

Your ultimate destination is the Plain of Jars, home to one of the most unusual and mysterious archaeological sites in Asia, where a profusion of enormous 2,000 year-old stone jars – some of them up to 4 metres high – have puzzled experts since excavations began in the 1930s.

Call us on 01306 888799 or contact enquiries@worlddiscovery.co.uk for further details.

 

The Luang Prabang Half Marathon – 18 October 2015

20130604081727-luang-prabang-half-marathon-la-procession-2013If you love travelling to exotic places and also like to keep yourself fit by running in charity races, then this October’s Third Luang Prabang Half Marathon may be just the thing you’re looking for!

The event is sponsored by all the major hotels in the city – see below for the World Discovery affiliates – and has already established itself as an enjoyable fun day which also generates thousands of pounds for worthy causes throughout Laos, one of the world’s poorest countries.

There’s a choice of 3 distances – 7km, 14km and 21km – and the race starts early at 6 a.m. to avoid the heat of the middle of the day.  There’s no entry fee, but competitors are expected to donate certain amounts to charity – see the full details of this, and all other rules and regulations on the event’s official website –  http://www.luangprabanghalfmarathon.com/

Luang-Prabang-Half-Marathon3Registration is now open.

The Luang Prabang hotels naturally get heavily booked during the days before and after the race so early booking is recommended.  World Discovery recommend Le Sen Boutique Hotel or the colonial-style Maison Souvannaphoum, both of which are featured on our website.

We can put together a private tour of Laos, perhaps combined with neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam, to include a stay in Luang Prabang at race time.

Laos – Traditional Textiles

Ock Tock ClockRenowned textile boutique shop Ock Pop Tock has recently opened its second store in Luang Prabang dedicated to the production of traditional Lao textiles.   The store offers textiles and material which are either made in Luang Prabang or at its Living Crafts Centre, in collaboration with rural Lao artisans through the company’s Village Weaver Projects.  The main objective is to keep the traditional weaving techniques alive for future generations as well as displaying the unique beauty of Lao textiles.

A variety of textiles are on display, each coming with motifs crafted from generation to generation by local master weavers to give an insight into the culture and history that influence the designs.  Both traditional and more modern designs are featured in the showroom and include intricate wall hangings, silk scarves, pillow collections and also showcases its latest range of modern hemp and cotton garments designed for both men and women.

World Discovery’s Laos Express tour includes 3 nights in Luang Prabang.

Laos – Race for charity

20130604081727-luang-prabang-half-marathon-la-procession-2013A half-marathon in the UNESCO World Heritage destination of Luang Prabang will take runners on a route inspired by the daily procession of monks who walk through the town at dawn to collect offerings.  Limited to 500 international runners to reduce congestion, the race on October 5 is titled ‘La Procession’.  It will offer participants the opportunity to run around the town’s greatest historical sites.  The costs of the event are fully covered by corporate sponsors and instead of the usual entry fee; runners will make charitable donations directly through online fundraising pages.
Proceeds from the half-marathon will go towards funding Friends International, an NGO benefiting children and young people across South East Asia.  The race comprises three race routes: half-marathon, 14-km, and 7-km race for family members.  The organisers hope to make the race an annual event so it will become firmly established on the regional half-marathon calendar.

Laos – Spiritual happening

Luang Prabang almsgiving 2Visitors to Laos can witness one of the country’s most solemn religious ceremonies from July 22 when devotees observe the start of the Buddhist Lent.  Buddhists wake early to give alms to monks across towns and cities and this spectacle provides wonderful photo opportunities as the saffron-clad monks silently file in procession along deserted streets ahead of sunrise. One of the greatest places to witness this religious celebration is Luang Prabang as the UNESCO listed heritage city has an abundance of ancient temples.  The city breathes history and culture and owes its name to the Pha Bang, a revered Buddha image – now in the Royal Palace Museum – which was brought to the city by King Visoun during the golden age of Lan Xang in the early 1500s. Destination Asia’s excursions provide a unique insight into this city, including the chance to take part in an early morning alms-giving ceremony.

World Discovery’s Laos Discovery itinerary includes 3 nights in Luang Prabang.

Laos – Festival of joy

Luang Prabang almsgiving 2Preparations are underway for one of the most important festivals in Laos next month when devotees celebrate Boun Khao Chi (Makhaboucha).  This religious celebration commemorates the day when 1,250 monks gathered spontaneously without prior knowledge to listen to the Dharma of Lord Buddha following his enlightenment in which he laid down the first monastic regulations and predicted his own death.  This year’s festivities will be held on February 7, during the third full moon of the lunar calendar.  The festival is marked by grand parades of candle-bearing worshippers circling their local temples, merit-making, and much religious music and chanting.  It is traditional for devotees to make a special bread of sticky rice, coated with egg, and offer it to the monks.  The festival is traditionally celebrated most fervently in the capital Vientiane and at the Khmer ruins of Wat Phu, near Champasak.