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Laos > Culture and festivals > Museums

 

There are many beautiful temples, especially in Luang Prabang, but a relative scarcity of museums. The former Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, now the National museum, is a living history museum offering insights into Lao history and culture in the first half of the 20th century.

The museum is easy to find, and absolutely not to be missed. It’s right off the main street (Phothisarath), on the Mekong River side. The building only dates from 1904, but it is significant since it is one of the few buildings used by the former royal family that was not destroyed after the 1975 communist takeover. Although the building was a “gift” from the French, it is classically Lao in style. The museum is filled with mementos given to the king by dignitaries, heads of state, and other royals from all over the world, and has more than its share of ancient Buddhas.  However, perhaps its most interesting aspect is the glimpse it gives into the day-to-day life of a citizen-king. The tour takes you through the royal chambers, living areas, kitchen, and more.

In Vientiane, the Ho Phakeo museum has a collection of items depicting Lao culture from the sixth through the 20th centuries.

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Travel guide to Laos : Museums in Laos