The main temples of Luang Prabang understandably line the main street. The crown jewel among the many wats here has to be Wat Xiang Thong. Its roofs reach slightly higher than the other wats and its decorations are slightly more elaborate. In the setting sun, this small temple complex was quite stunning.
The sumptuous gold leaf decorations were an elegant motif repeated all over the buildings here…
… even down to the tiniest side halls.
Gold leaf on red was the theme of the day. I wonder how much gold was plastered on the walls.
In the cast of the evening sun, it was a sight to behold.
However, for the most important temple of a country, Wat Xiang Thong was nonetheless humble in comparison. Some parts looked badly in need of restoration.
Other shrines had rather unique decorations, such as this quirky rendition of the tree of life which I rather enjoyed.
The rest of the temple complex had mainly the de rigueur gold carvings as decorations.
Some looked appropriately ancient…
… and others were simply stunning in the evening sun.
One of the most interesting of the shrines was this one with the simple paintings on a pink background. I like the naivety of the style, as if it had been painted by students from the local primary school.
Last of all, we ducked into the main temple hall to watch worshippers at prayer, all serenely decked out in traditional costume.
Here’s a little aside about Lao people: One thing I noticed about Luang Prabang was how friendly the locals were, in particular the monks. Outside one of the wats I was just minding my own business when a young monk struck up a conversation with me. He was very eager to practise his English and we had a little chat about our countries. I’m not sure about their taboos regarding contacts between monks and women but they sure aren’t shy about conversations with foreign women!