Weather :

Timings : Closed on Tuesdays. 8 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM to 4 PM Last Entry: 3:30 PM

Time Required : 2 to 3 hours

Entry Fee : 30,000 LAK or 3.75 USD

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Royal Palace Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang Overview

Haw Kham or the Royal Palace is a former royal residence located on the banks of the Mekong in the old town of Luang Prabang in Laos. Situated opposite the sacred Mount Phousi, the monument was the centre of administration for many decades including being the royal residence. Now converted into a museum, it is a popular attraction among tourists visiting Luang Prabang city to get to know the imperial history and culture of the town.

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Best time to visit

The best time to visit the Royal Palace is early in the morning or evening when the weather is pleasant.

Royal Palace History & Significance

The Royal Palace or Haw Kham as it is called translates to Golden Palace in the local language. The original Palace was built of wood and was home to the wealth of the royalty. It was destroyed in 1887 when the Chinese Black Flag Army invaded Luang Prabang and plundered the city and looting the Palace. The current version is one of the latest monuments in Luang Prabang, built in 1909 by the French during their occupation. The building served as a residence of the Royal family of King Sisavang Vong and later to Savang Vatthana until 1979 when the communist party ended the monarchy.

Architecture

The Palace is made of brick and is a fusion between French and Laotian style of architecture. The Royal Palace consists of an elevated corridor surrounding it. Decorated stairways lead to the entrance door, which is heavily carved and contains the three-headed gold elephant Airavata belonging to Hindu God Indra at the top.

Main Hall

At the centre of the main hall lies a golden statue of Buddha, which is used in national ceremonies and on religious occasions. Behind this the reception room, which was used by the Kings to welcome international delegates. It now houses big statues of the last three kings of Laos constructed in the 18th century, and many murals depicting the daily lives of people of Luang Prabang. Next to this room is the Queen's reception room, which now contains souvenirs gifted by neighbouring countries.

Throne Room & Royal Residence

The entry opens up to several rooms on both sides, which functioned as assembly halls and other purposes earlier. Now they are categorised into different sections of museum exhibition halls. At the centre of the Palace is the Throne room. It consists of a throne, made of gold and decorated with precious stones. The Throne Room has a grand interior with mosaic tiles adorning red walls.

Other buildings include the guesthouses containing the bedrooms used by the royal family, a garden with a pond, library, royal stable and an old garage including imperial antique cars on display.

Haw Pha Bang

Haw Pha Bang is a beautiful temple located in the premises, known for its multi-layered golden roofs, and intricately carved exteriors and decorated sim. It housed the Pra Bang, the famous golden Buddha statue after which the city got its name.

Tips

No photography is allowed inside the Palace premises.

It is better not to carry any bags with you as you will have to deposit them outside at the counter.

It is expected to dress respectfully. Women and men should cover their shoulders and knees. You also need to take off your shoes, hat and sunglasses before entering the palace and the temple premises.

How To Reach Royal Palace Luang Prabang

The Royal Palace Museum is located in the centre of the old town of Luang Prabang. The best way to reach is on foot. It takes less than 20 minutes. You can also get there by renting a tuk-tuk for about 20,000 LAK or hire a motorbike for about 8 to 10 USD per day. The other way to arrive is by hiring a bike for about 3 to 4 USD per day.

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