about the trip
Since 2004, the School of Arts & Social Sciences (SASS) of Monash University Malaysia has been organising yearly study trips within and outside of Malaysia. From 25th June to 7th July 2016, we will embark on a journey to Vientiane and Luang Prabang, Laos. In Search of Vientiane & Luang Prabang 2016 will be the 12th study trip held in the “In Search of” series. This blog will pen a kaleidoscope of our escapades – from the sights and sounds to the tastes and smells.
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about Vientiane and Luang Prabang
‘Vien’ derived from Vieng in Lao language means the city. ‘-tiane’ derived from a Pali word, Chantha, means sandalwood or the moon. Together, Vientiane is the City of Sandalwood. It could also be known as the City of the Moon. According to Laotian belief, the people of Laos originated from the moon. This explains the moon in the centre of Laos’s national flag.
Vientiane is the capital city of Laos. It is the country’s most developed city and a comfortable spot for foreign tourists to explore its mix of archaic and modern structures and lifestyle. Also, Vientiane is home to the most iconic national monument of Laos: Pha That Luang. It is also home to the one and only temple guarded by a female guardian spirit known as Si Muang Temple.
This city is a melting pot of diverse cultures of different ethnicities and identities. Apart from its multicultural community, its diversity is reflected in the variety of foods offered here. These mouth-watering delicacies range from traditional Lao food to French cuisine, Vietnamese snacks and Korean restaurants.
Luang Prabang was once the capital city of the Lan Xang Kingdom. Today, it has become one of the most beautiful and well-preserved UNESCO Heritage Town in the world. Luang Prabang was named after a statue of the Buddha called The ‘Pra bang’. The town is a peninsular surrounded by the best nature has to offer – mountainous terrains, lush greeneries, the Mekong River and Nam Khan River.
This quaint and languid town acquired its beauty from traditional Lao and colonial French influences. The Laos government aims to preserve the beauty of Luang Prabang by encapsulating its cultural heritage. Living in this town feels like time spent in a time capsule from another era. Days here are filled with alms giving to Buddhist monks on the sacred Mount Phousi, visiting the lively morning market, admiring the magnificent beauty of temples such as the Xieng Thong Temple, immersing in the cool waters at the Kuang Si Waterfalls and strolls along the night market for food, drinks and shopping.