Tag Archives: world heritage site

Images of Luang Prabang, Laos

A short trip to Laos (Republic of Lao) in Feb 2007 for the Chinese New Year. It was one of those random trips which I had decided spur of the moment.

Took the plane to Udon Thani Airport, Thailand and crossed the border to Lao, and unto Vietiane by local bus. The Thai bus system is terrific and you can easily access anywhere by public buses.

Had originally decided to visit just Vietiane since I only had a few days to spare. Vietiane didn’t impress me much, a dull city without any personality, built like any non-chalant China sub-city with giant block non-script buildings. Decided to do a whole 12hr bus ride to Luang Prabang. I was kinda glad I made that trip to the World Heritage Site.

Would have been miserable in Vietiane, it was dusty and hot and wildy uncomfortable. The weather was a little cooler in the highlands, althought the skies were overcasted with haze and you could hardly see the clouds, this being the dry season where most of the Mekong river was dry.

It was also the Chinese New Year period, and the whole place was filled with tourists from South China as well as tourists from Thailand. Took me a few hours to find decently priced accomodation during the holiday period. Cheapest I found was average us$25-35 a night.



Luang Prabang -This was the first scene that I woke up to the next morning after a long 12 odd hour bus ride from Vietiane. Loved the mountainous folds, being the dry season, it was hazy and all i saw was grey cloudless skies. The weather being cool was a welcome relief from the sweltering city of Vietiane.


The rather uncomfortable motor boat takes tourists down the Mekong River to Vietnam


The dry season when the Mekong river slows to almost halt.


Bridge to the other side of town. Locals walk free, but foreigners have to pay the bridge toll, equivalent to $1.


As with most places, Luang Prabang seem to be in a massive change, they had some construction going on at the river beds and around the historical town. The whole place was changing, and slowly being turned into tourist museum. Many local residents have moved out, leaving many of the ancient houses renovated into hotels or shops. Every block I explored since to be undergoing some expansion or renovation of some sort.

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Droves and Droves of Tourists in Borobudur

After 6am, the official opening time of the temple, streams of tourists started climbing up to the temple. The crowds were still managable and I could still have some space on my own to discover the temple.

In a more godly 7am, a sudden wave of local indonesian tourists flooded in. It was quite heartening to see local tourists visiting their national sites. These indonesians are quite lucky to have such beautiful historical sites to call their own.

Coming from Singapore where either most of our historical sites have been destroyed by progress or ruined by urban planning, I felt a little envious that they preserved their cultural sites that encouraged local tourism.

Borobodur Temple

Borobodur Temple

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Bass Reliefs in Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple in Central Java has one of the most beautiful bass reliefs in South East Asia quite in par with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Borobudur is one of the smallest ruins but still it would take you at least 2 hours just walking around and looking at the beautifully restored temple.

It’s worth your while spending 1 hour walking around and viewing the reliefs where it tells the stories of Buddha and buddha related stories.

Borobodur Temple

Borobodur Temple

Borobodur Temple

Borobodur Temple

Borobodur Temple

Borobodur Temple

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A wedding photographer in Borobudur

I met a gifted wedding photographer while briefly at Borobudur during the late afternoon. He came with simple equipment and a beautiful wedding couple dressed in rather expensive batik wedding wear (about us$2000 for the gold embroidered wedding dress).

This place makes great backdrop and I am envious of him being there.

I hovered around quietly, watching him work, and the end of his shoot, bravely asked if I could take his photo and much to my delight, he not only agreed but generously offered the use his lighting equipment as well as giving me instructions on his camera settings.

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

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Returning to Borobudur, Central Java

I revisited Central Java and the Borobudur Temple recently in June 2008. This time while in Borobudur, I spent more time walking around and viewing the beautiful bass reliefs rather than rush through them. The last time in 2005 was a little rushed and whirl-wind type of photo tour.

Stayed in Manohara Hotel (445,000rp, sg$70) to get a nearer access to the temple. Did the sunrise tour, which wasn’t really much of a tour, but of paying the extra 110,000rp (sgd$16, us$11) for someone at the hotel to open the gates 1.5 hour earlier than the usual 6am for normal entry.

Was it worth it you say, well yes in a way it was. I took quite a lot of photos pitch black and waited for sunrise with a handful of tourists. The sunrise wasn’t spectacular, it was quite hazy covering the sun most of the time. I sure enjoyed snapping photos while it was a touch of dawn and the only light available was my torch.

It was great that for a brief period, the Volcano Mount Merapi revealed itself beyond the horizon before hiding back into the clouds.

Here’s some photos I took, this time I brought my cokin color filters, not much of a photoshop addict, I made some curves and level adjustment and the color filters and nature’s light did the rest of the magic.

Borobudur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

Borobodur, Central Java

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