Buddhist Columns: Strong and Beautiful in Luang Prabang


Luang Prabang, in north central Laos, has been an important Buddhist spiritual center for hundreds of years.  As a result, it has some of the most ancient and exquisite Buddhist temples in the region.


Visiting these beautiful temples doesn’t take a great deal of planning. Just walk in any direction, and you’re guaranteed to stumble into a couple of extravagantly decorated temples. In fact, as we quickly discovered on our visit, undecorated surfaces were the exception in local temples.

As architectural buffs, we’ve developed the habit of studying not only the building as a whole, but also its individual elements. You may have seen our Beguiling Baltic Doors, or the Unique Shop Doors of Kotor. In Luang Prabang, we fell in love with columns of Buddhist temples.

Luang Prabang temples have a distinctive style, and are well known for their gleaming gold leaf ornamentation.

Some of the temples are quite old, built as early as the 16th Century. Given the harsh climate of the highland area, their state of preservation is astounding.

Buddha in Luang Prabang

And to my eye, the color palette, even though vivid, is also quite elegant and appealing.

In our travels in Southeast Asia, we saw countless temples, but the Buddhist temples of Luang Prabang were some of our favorites.

Happy Trails,

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

44 thoughts

  1. We are there right now! Loving the temples. Went for a looong trek yesterday – bit stiff and sore today but off to the waterfall anyway 🙂
    Were staying here for only 6 days but this morning changed it to 12. Love Luang Prabang.
    Great Photos!

    1. LP is a wonderful place to just wander around. We loved the night market. If you haven’t discovered it yet, there’s a tiny alley just off the main street that is jammed with street vendors during the night market. A couple have small “buffets” that are wonderful. Also, we had an excellent lunch at a place called Tamarind (check it on Tripadvisor). It’s on the river (not the Mekong, but the other side), with a nice porch and cold beer. We did a post with some food photos

      1. Too funny – we had dinner at one of those buffets tonight! Best chicken we’ve had for a long time.
        I’ll check out Tamarind – maybe for tomorrow night.

    1. Thanks Chris. I agree that tranquil is the word. LP is the perfect place to kick back after hustling around SE Asia. We came here from 2 weeks in Bangkok, and it was perfect.

    1. Thanks Kelly. Definitely put LP on the list. In addition to all the wonderful Buddhist temples, there’s also tons of perfectly preserved French Colonial buildings. It’s quiet and laid-back, and was the perfect place to decompress after a couple of weeks in Bangkok. Pick one of the small restaurants with a beautiful deck hanging over the Mekong, order a beer, and life will be good.

  2. Amazing place – somewhere I dream of going back to again and again…
    The architecture there is indeed incredible.
    This little reminder of LP makes my morning that bit better.

    1. Hi LuAnn, Thanks and you’re welcome. You and Terry are so adventurous, so I think you would really enjoy Southeast Asia. It would be a great winter escape. All the best, Terri

    1. You’re welcome Lori. Luang Prabang was a wonderful surprise for us – even better than we’d anticipated. I thoroughly enjoyed your post on the Alhambra – one of our favorite places. Thanks for the memory and congrats on the FP – so well deserved. All the Best, Terri

    1. Thanks Steph. We only spent a week in Laos, and all our time was in Luang Prabang. Laos, (at least the parts that didn’t get destroyed by American bombs) still has lots of French Colonial architecture that is very cool as well as tons of Buddhist temples. If you get to SE Asia, check it out. ~James

    1. We spent a week in LP, and loved it. Before arriving we’d been in Bangkok for a couple of weeks, and LP was such wonderful, quiet, relaxing change. It truly is a charming village, and the mix of Buddhist Temples and French colonial architecture is very cool. There are tons of tiny restaurants with outdoor terraces overlooking the Mekong, and the night market is great fun. There’s an alley at the night market which is jam packed with street vendors, and the food is great. There were a couple of buffets where we could get safe-to-eat veggies (hard to find in this part of the world). Also, make sure to search out a restaurant called “Tamarind” which is on the Nam Khan River, not the Mekong. We had a fabulous lunch there. Jill, you’re going to love LP. Here’s a link to all our posts on LP:

    1. I’ve been to your blog and see that you’re an avid traveler. And as one traveler to another, I can say that you should not miss Luang Prabang. When you visit you will most likely come in through Bangkok, or Singapore, or some other big wacky city. LP will be such a relaxing break that you won’t believe it. We spent a week there and could have stayed 2. We wrote a number of posts that will probably give you a feel for the city. Its a fabulous place and makes such a nice stop on a southeast Asia trip. ~James

      1. Truly can’t wait to get to SE Asia. With all my roaming, I can’t believe this area remains unseen by me! I will for sure check out all your posts beforehand. So glad to have discovered your blog; you guys are living my dream!

What do you think? We'd love to know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s