The Luang Prabang Royal Palace and national museum is a set of buildings in French colonial style, dating back to the year 1904. Today the Royal Palace has been converted into the National Museum of Luang Prabang. In the grounds of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, formally Haw Kham are the National Museum, the theatre and the eye-catching Temple Haw Pha Bang.
About the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace of Luang Prabang was built in the year 1904 by mandate of King Sisavang Vong along the banks of the Mekong River to replace the old palace, damaged by Chinese militia in 1887. At that then Laos was part of French Indochina, overpowering French very obvious in this building.
The Palacio Real de Luang Prabang, whose official name is Haw Kham and its literal translation is Golden Palace, is a clear French influence building built with brick and teak wood. The style of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang is mixed French Beaux Arts architecture and traditional Laotian architecture (the) Presidential Palace in Vientiane (it is another example of the beaux arts in Laos architecture).
The main function of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang was to be the home of the Royal family of Laos. It was in 1975 when the Communist Party of Laos took power and the monarchy was abolished by driving out the Real from the Palace of Luang Prabang family. The Royal Palace was closed until the year 1995 which opened its doors to the public reconverted at the National Museum of Luang Prabang, Museum that is still active today.
Visit the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang
The Royal Palace is composed of 3 buildings:
- The Luang Prabang National Museum: the old Royal Palace in the city.
- The Temple Haw Pha Bang: the showy and ornamental Temple located at the entrance to the grounds of the Royal Palace.
- Theatre: today it is possible to attend dance shows and theatre performances.
The National Museum of Luang Prabang
In the interior of the Palace Royal of Luang Prabang, the converted National Museum, has been preserved intact since the year 1975, all the furniture and decoration of the National Museum are originating in the Royal Palace, this does not allow to witness the lifestyle of the Kings: impressive staircases of marble, art of incalculable value, collections of weapons, mural paintings depicting life in Laos in the last decades, jewelry, the Royal Crown and can even access the garage to see the car collection of the Lao King (mainly American cars from the 1950s to the 1970s).
Haw Pha Bang temple
The building is striking from the grounds of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang is the Temple Haw Pha Bang, also called Wat Ho Pha Bang and whose translation means Royal Temple. It is a modern Buddhist temple built in the year 2006 with a beautiful and elaborate decoration in the main façade. Although the temple Wat Ho Pha Bang may seem old, the construction of the temple Haw Pha Bang began in 1963 and was finally completed in 2006, the delay is due to the suspension of the works during the Communist period.
The Haw Pha Bang Temple was built to House the statue of the Buddha Phra Bang, the most sacred and revered Laos Buddha.
Phra Bang Buddha
It is a statue of 83 centimeters in height which has the honour of giving name to the city of Luang Prabang (Luang Prabang and Buddha Phra Bang). According to the legend the Phra Bang Buddha statue was built 2000 years ago in Sri Lanka, looted and stolen by the armies of the Kingdom of Siam, currently set out in a huge sanctuary inside the temple Wat Haw Pha Bang.
The Theatre of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang
The gardens, fountains and building of the Theatre Royal are located opposite the temple Wat Haw Pha Bang. There are theatrical performances, and dance performances where the public can attend, upon acquisition of input. The entrance to the theatre shows real costs between 80,000 kip and 180,000 kip.
In the gardens on the way to the theatre is the statue of King Sisavang Vong, King who lived in the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang (in the city of Vientiane there is another statue of the King himself together with the) Wat Si Muang).
The museum is open from 08:00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:00 every day except Tuesday.
Location: The Royal Palace Museum is situated on Thanon Sisavangvong in the city centre, just opposite the steps leading up to Mount Phousi.
It is set back from the street in a park that also houses the National Theatre and several other buildings.
How to get there: It is easy to walk to the museum from anywhere in downtown Luang Prabang, or you can go by rented bicycle or motorcycle or in a taxi or tuk-tuk.