Royal Palace, Luang Prabang

The Royal Palace was home to the royal family until 1975 when the communist Pathet Lao took over. The last crown prince of Laos, Savang Vatthana, and his family were removed from the palace and died about 5 years later in the hills near the Plain of Jars. It is now the National Museum where visitors can view objects as diverse as the queen’s shoes, musical instruments, gifts given to the king by heads of state from around the world, a large glass case filled with 15th and 16th century gold and crystal buddhas, and much more.

Portraits of the royal family over time adorn the walls and much of their furniture and other personal effects still grace their apartments. The most famous exhibit is the Pra Bang, or the golden Buddha statue, where Luang Prabang got its name, “The City of the Golden Buddha.” I highly recommend a visit here to anyone interested in Laotian history.