ROYAL PALACE IN LUANG PRABANG – THE LAST PALACE OF LAOTIAN ROYALTY

Huong Lien NguyenTravel Tips

Royal Palace Haw Kham in Luang Prabang

The Royal Palace in Luang Prabang also known as “Haw Kham” and translated to “Golden Palace” was once Laos’ Royal Palace. The former Royal Palace is located on the banks of the Mekong River and faces the Mount Phousi. The palace houses a lot of historical items with interesting stories behind.  The Royal palace is worth a visit, and you will learn more about Lao history and culture.

TRAVEL GUIDE TO LUANG PRABANG ROYAL PALACE

If you’re wondering how to get to Luang Prabang Royal Palace, here we give you a few tips on transportation, entrance fee and dress code. Also, there’s a night market near the palace for visitors considering what to do at night in Luang Prabang.

How to get to the Royal Palace

The Palace Museum is located on the Luang Prabang between the Mekong River and Mount Phousi. The main entrance is on Sisavangvong Road.

You can reach Most of the town on foot. Or you can rent a motorbike or bicycle for travel. A tuk tuk or jumbo ride from the center of town will cost between 10,000 – 15,000 Kip (about $1.2 – $2). Click here for currency concerter: Lao kip to USD.

The best time for a visit is in the early morning, which is when the number of visitor is lowest and the lighting for photography is best.

Entrance fee & opening hours

The Royal Palace is open for visitors every day from 8:00 – 11:30 am and 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

Entry to the museum grounds is free. But it costs you 30,000 kip ($3.5) to get to the palace building. There is a ticket box to the right of the entrance. Children under 10 free of charge.

Do note that the public toilets may be not up to standard so go before you visit around.

Phralak Phralam Theatre is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Satauday: 18:00 from October to February/ 18:30 from March to September.

Counter ticket: from 08:00 to 18:00

There are 3 different price depends on the row of seat: 100,000kip, 120,000kip and 150,000kip. You can check out the official website of the Phralak Phralam Theatre for tickets.

Luang Prabang Royal Palace from outside
Luang Prabang Royal Palace from outside

Dress code and restrictions

Your bags and cameras must be stored in lockers while visiting the palace buildings. You can take pictures of the palace or temple from the outside.

In addittion, respectable dress is required, meaning knees and shoulders must be covered. According to the ticket includes “midriff, upper arms and upper legs covered; no hats”. Take off shoes before entering the building.

Also, women must dress with long skirt or trousers, in case of failure to comply with the dress code is necessary to resort to luggage, where it provided free Lao long skirts.

WHAT TO SEE IN THE ROYAL PALACE

The Royal Palace is in the heart of Luang Phrabang town just below Mount Phousi on the main road. There are some great sites to see there. In the grounds of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang are the National Museum, the theatre and the Temple Haw Pha Bang.

The National Museum of Luang Prabang

In the interior of the Palace Royal of Luang Prabang, the converted National Museum has remained intact since 1975. All the furniture and decoration of the National Museum are originating in the Royal Palace. You will approach the National Museum through a walkway lined with palm trees and up a staircase to the main level.

The main entrance of Royal Palace in Luang Prabang
The main entrance of Royal Palace in Luang Prabang

The front rooms which was functioned as royal reception areas now are the main galleries and are filled with royal portraits and gifts from foreign states.

The main throne room has walls in bright red and decorated with glass mosaics which form huge murals. In the past, Kings of Laos used the throne to travel the Kingdom. Around the throne room, there are displays of ceremonial swords, Buddha statues and other artifacts of the Royal family.

Behind the throne room, there is the royals’ residential area with the Queen’s bedroom, the King’s bedroom, a dining room and a music room. People kept the residential area in the same state as in 1975 before the royal family departed.

The Temple Haw Pha Bang

In a corner of the Palace grounds, there is the Temple Haw Phra Bang built to treasure the Phra Bang Buddha image. Although the temple may seem old, it is a new structure in 2006 with the traditional style. 

The Temple in Royal Palace Luang Prabang
The Temple in Royal Palace Luang Prabang

On top of the white structure, the multi-layered and steep roof is decorated with lots of gold. Dragon sculptures are along the staircase. The temple houses the golden standing Buddha statue Phra Bang from Sri Lanka where it was cast in the 1st century. It was also the name-giver to the town Luang Prabang in 1512 and a symbol of the royal dynasty.  

Phra Bang Buddha is a statue of 83 centimeters in height and regarded as the most sacred and culturally significant Buddha image in Laos. 

If you want to know more about the Royal Palace’s history and legend, you should take a look at the tour below. The local female guides are so professional and knowledgable that I can’t recommend enough.

A tourist on the back of our lady biker

Luang Prabang City Tour
Price: From $45/person.
Duration: 5 1/2 hours.

The Theatre of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang

During the time in Royal Palace, you must visit the Theatre of the Royal Palace (Phralak Phralam Theatre) presents occasional performances of the epic Ramayana story and Lao traditional dance. The Ramayana was popular throughout South and Southeast Asia and first brought to Luang Prabang centuries ago. The long traditions of the music and the performance continued to exist through the 20th century in Laos. In 2003, With the support of the international community Lao PDR established the Phralak Phralam Theatre. The aims are to ensure the survival of the Lao Ramayana and give visitors and Laotians the opportunities to experience this significant part of Lao culture. During high season, shows were performed at 18:00 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The entrance fee for the shows is between 100,000 kip and 150,000 kip (from $11 to $18). In the gardens on the way to the theatre is the statue of King Sisavang Vong, King of Laos until 1959. Also on the grounds, other buildings house the Royal stables and a garage with the old cars used by the Royals from the 1950s to 1970s.

The statue of King Sisavang Vong
The statue of King Sisavang Vong

Luang Prabang Night Market

Luang-Prabang-Night-Market
Luang-Prabang-Night-Market

There is also a night market along Sisavangvong Road from the Tourism office and heads towards the Royal Palace Museum.

Every evening a few hundred meter stretch of road is turned into a walking and shopping street. It’s an amazing sight, and it offers the most extensive collection of handicrafts in Laos. As a result, visiting night market is one of the top things to do in Luang Prabang. Also, it is an interesting way to enjoy the real life of locals here.

The market is open daily about from 5pm to 10pm.

In conclusion, the Royal Palace is a famous place in Luang Prabang. Besides, there are still a lot more things to discover nearby the Palace so won’t you miss a chance? We hope you will have a great trip to Luang Prabang – Laos. 

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