The Royal Palace Luang Prabang nowadays is best known as the Lao National Museum, located on the Mekong riverside facing to Phousi Mountain. It is also called Haw Kham or Ho Kham, which means Golden Palace in Lao meaning. Indeed, the Royal Palace is the fascinating destination in your journey of Laos travel, which is one of the symbols of the country besides Wat Xieng Thong and Pha That Luang temples.
Discover the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang
It is known as some names such as Haw Kham (official name), Palace Museum, Royal Palace Museum or National Museum and built in the period of French colonization in 1904 as the residence for King Sisavang Vong and his family.
After the attack of a militia group from China, the Black Flag Army in 1887 to the city, it was constructed to replace the old Palace. The new architecture was built in a harmonious style of French Beaux Arts and rich features of traditional Laos style. Besides, the new one used brick as material for construction instead of teak wood of the old Palace.
The royal family was sent to re-education camps after the communists came to power in 1975 and the monarchy was overthrown. After that the palace was renovated and used as a museum in 1995 for public. Here you will have a great opportunity to understand more about history and culture of Laos by visiting a new exhibition hall and a chapel (Haw Prabang), and a statue of King Sisavangvong.
Exhibition rooms of the Palace Museum.
Tourists can get to the Palace Museum through an avenue lined with palm trees leading to the main entrance on Sisavangvong road. Here you will see the impressive image of the three headed elephant Airavata ridden by the Hindu God Indra above the entrance. Also, you will see the image of mythological Naga serpents surrounding the golden elephant, which is protected by the White Parasol, a symbol of Royalty.
There are former reception halls in front of the Palace, which used as the primary exhibition hall nowadays. Besides, you will see several Buddha statues at the entrance hall as well as a golden throne, which used in Buddhist ceremonies by the Supreme Patriarch.
There is the King’s reception room behind the entrance hall. This area houses the last three statues of Laotian Kings. Inside the room, you will see the murals on the walls describing the daily life of people in Luang Prabang in the period of early 20th century. In addition, the presents from foreign visitors are displayed in the Queen’s reception room.
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Throne Room is located at the center of the Palace and built with a Lao style spire. The Throne Room is designed with red painted walls and glass mosaics. Inside the room, there is a throne sophisticatedly carved like a howdah, which used to travel the Kingdom by the King of Laos in several centuries ago. In the throne room, there is a glass case housing some old gold and crystal Buddha images from 15th and 16th centuries.
Several items belonging to the Royal Family also stored in the throne room such as the royal bedrooms, dining room and library. All of them remain the original state dating back from 1975. In a corner of the Palace grounds is the Royal temple named Haw Pha Bang. It is a place to enshrine the Phra Bang Buddha, the most sacred and culturally significant Buddha image in Laos, which is made from alloy of bronze, gold and silver.
Other buildings on the Palace grounds you can see such as the Royal stables, which stored Royal barges; the former Royal Theater and a garage with old cars of Royal family. In the Palace gardens, there is a big pond and a statue of King of Laos, Sisavangvong.
Family travel in Laos: Laos family holidays
Opening Hours and Admission Fee
Opening Hours: Daily except Tuesday from 8.00 am – 11.30 am and 1.00 pm – 4.00 pm
Admission fee: 30.000 Kip ($4)/ person
Location: Sisavangvong Road, Luang Prabang
Visit to Royal Palace is one of the best things to do in Luang Prabang that you shouldn’t miss once travelling to Laos.
Source: Laos tour operator