Laos once had a royal family and this morning we visited their palace which dates from 1904 and replaces an older one. For me the most distinctive features were the very attractive wall murals illustrating scenes from traditional Laotian life painted by Alix Ayme, sister of novelist Marcel Ayme and dating from 1930. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside the palace,
We then climbed up to the top of Phu Si Hill. Fortunately, the morning was cool and we were able to admire the extensive views of the countryside around from the quaint temple of That Chomsi.
More amazing sights awaited us when we drove into the the beautiful hilly country around Luang Prabang and reached what must be one of the most spectacular waterfalls I have ever seen. In fact, the Kuang Si are a series of waterfalls culminating into a gigantic plunge of several hundred feet.
We had a picnic by the gushing waters and then cooled off in the near turquoise waters of one of the pools. Nearby are some native bears saved from poachers.
Just before arriving at our rustic hotel we stopped at an elephant camp where we were made welcome by the pachiderms who were after the sugar cane we offered them. Sadly there are less than a thousand elephants left in Laos but at least they are safe in places like this.
Of the three indo chinese nations we have visited I have no doubt that the jewel in the crown is Laos. Let us hope that old Asia willl continue to live on here for some time to come. The fact that Luang Prabang is celebrating its twentieth anniversary as a world heritage site is a good sign.