The Wats & Royal Palace of Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang, Laos
From my Luang Prabang Post: Adding to the town’s general harmony, there’s a certain level of spirituality to be found observing thousands of monks and novices go about their lives and perform their rituals amidst the growing modern world. All Lao boys are expected to become novice monks for a short period of their lives (3-12 months) and many come to Luang Prabang from smaller, impoverished villages to receive a partial education and perform their temporary commitment before returning home to help support their families. Around 2,100 monks and novices reside in the town and make up a significant portion of the population and I think for most tourists, myself included, there’s a level of mysticism associated with having to respectfully step off a curb to let a group of teenage monks pass by. Having been the religious and spiritual center of the country for centuries, the town is scattered with wats and their coinciding schools, monasteries, and dormitories. The temples, wats, and Royal Palace of Luang Prabang are not overly remarkable (like the White Temple), but still have the typical elegance and beauty found at most throughout southeast Asia. And they are plentiful – walking down any street, it’s hard not to notice how many there are as you pass temple after temple – 33 located in the small Historic District alone.