Top 7 Museums in Laos
12/02/2018 912 Views 0 Comments Brian Vu
Traveling to Laos, in addition to visiting temples and pagodas or joining in activities of festivals, another way for you to learn more about this country’s history, culture, and people is setting foot in worth-spending-time museums. To help you have the most memorable experiences in these are 7 top-rated museums in Laos.
1. Lao National History Museum
Lao National History Museum, initially called the Lao Revolutionary Museum due to the anxiety on struggle for the freedom as well as communism, contains several items from prehistoric times to the modern day. You will find ancient pieces of the early regional history such as dinosaur bones, stone tools, pottery fragments, rock paintings, Khmer sculptures, and Buddha images on the first floor. Also, with some photographs of old prisons, soldiers, the Secret War, and reminders of the difficulties the country had during the colonization displayed upstairs, you will get more detailed information of the Lao modern history, from the Siamese invasions and the French colonial period to the present day. Besides, you will have a chance to know more about the first Prime Minister of Laos, Kaysone Phomvihane, since all his personal items are exhibited at this museum.
Address: Rue Samsenthai, Vientiane, Laos
Opening hours: 8 am – 12 am, 1 pm – 4 pm every day; closed on public holidays
Price: 10,000 Kip/person
2. Lao Textile Museum
Because the landlocked country of Laos has built the reputation for its silk woven products; thus you may wonder yourself how Laotians have produced silk fabrics considered as a masterpiece for hundreds of years. The answer can be found at Lao Textile Museum, which is the first private museum in Laos and run by a family. It is housed in an old two-story, traditional, wooden Lao house. On the ground floor, you will find traditional looms and other machinery used over the last century which your guide can show you how to operate. Moreover, there are both sitting and standing looms from different parts of the country and various types of textiles and patterns for Laos’ multitude of ethnic tribes. Especially, you can observe the traditional dyeing process, from the plants to the clay urns here.The upstairs shuttered with big wooden doors and quite dark is the place of intricately woven garments, tapestries and textiles. At the end of the visit, you can buy traditional Lao silk weavings or clothing whose designs are exclusive in the souvenir shop.
Address: Vientiane, Laos
Opening hours: 9 am – 4 pm
Price: 30,000 Kip/person
3. Royal Palace Museum
Constructed between 1904 and 1909 during the period of French colonization, the Palace was originally the Laos Royal Family’s residence. Thus, it has both French and Lao traditional style. At the main entrance, there is a depiction of the three-head elephant ridden by the Hindu God Indra. Additionally, you will find several Buddha images at the entrance hall. Behind the entrance hall is the King’s former reception room which has three statues of the last Lao Kings and pictures of daily life in Luang Prabang during the early 20th century. Moreover, the Throne Room at the center of the area is adorned with a Lao style spire, red walls and glass mosaics and has ancient gold, crystal Buddha images from the 15th to 16th centuries. In particular, you will have a chance to see the most scared Buddha statue of Laos, Phra Bang, in a stunning shrine in a corner of the Palace grounds.
Address: Sisavangvong Road, Luang Prabang, Laos
Opening hours: 8 am – 11.30 am, 1.30 pm – 4 pm, every day except Tuesday
Price: 30,000 Kip/person
4. Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre
Situated closely to the Mekong River, this traditionally styled workshop where weavers, spinners, and batik makers produce top quality fabrics offers you free tours to learn all about Lao textiles. It is well-known for handicraft products like cushions, colorful cotton scarves, clothes, beaded coasters, or bead spread made on traditional wooden looms. Especially, you can join in many periodically organized events like workshops, exhibitions, or seminars here. There is also a great riverside cafe serving drinks and Lao food where you can also try a cup of the pleasant worm-poo tea, a unique infusion made from silk-worm droppings.
Address: Phothisalath Road, Luang Prabang, Laos
Opening hours: 8 am – 6 pm
5. Lao People’s Army History Museum
Existed from 1976, this museum mainly exhibits artifacts related to the War like multiple kinds of weapons, useful tools, and numerous photos of the Laotians’ Army from the revolutionary period in 1950 to the independence in 1975. When stepping into the area, you will see that there are a large number of troop vehicle kinds and planes used in the wars. Especially, you will see a short documentary about main historical events of Laos. Not only does this museum have statues of Lao leaders, heroes, and other important people in this country’s history, it also displays any sculptures showing the revolutionary struggle of the workers. What’s more, in the gallery, you will have chance to hear a variety of stories of Lao soldiers and people served in Lao armies.
Address: Kaysone Phomvihane Road, Vientiane, Laos
Opening hours: 8.30 – 11.30 am, 1.30 pm – 4 pm every day except Monday
Price: 5,000 Kip/person
6. Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre
Opened in 2006, this private non-profit making museum devoted to the conservation and celebration of diverse Lao ethnic groups lasting from the proud past to this day and age. The exhibitions include traditional textiles and clothes, valued jewelry kinds, multiple spiritual artifacts, handicraft tools, basic baskets, skillful photography and useful household items. Also, quotes, photos, and videos at this museum will help you understand more about Lao diverse culture. Although the center’s dimension is quite modest, its amazing and informative pieces are organized to the international standard. If you visit this center, do not forget to check out the gift shop and support artisans from different parts of Laos by buying their work.
Address: Center Dala Market, Luang Prabang, Laos
Opening hours: 9 am – 6 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday
Price: 25,000 Kip/person
7. COPE Centre
COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) helps Lao citizens having disabilities to obtain prosthetics and do physical therapy to regain mobility. The statue at the entrance which is dedicated to those who were injured, died, or lost lovers in wars was made from 500 kg of metal from bomb casings and other ordinance. Inside the center, the bombies are dangled from the ceiling. At the movie room, you can also watch documentary films about the history of the bombings in Laos like Bomb Harvest, Bombies, and Deadly Harvest. Besides, there is an exhibition displaying problems of UXO in Laos. Moreover, you will have an opportunity to know how polypropylene prosthetic legs are made at COPE workshop. More interestingly, this center also has a cafe and gift shop built from local bamboo whose proceeds are added to the fund of the project.
Address: Boulevard Khouvieng, Vientiane, Laos
Opening hours: 9 am – 6 pm every day
Price: free but donations are welcomed
To wrap up, above are just a few of the best museums in Laos. They will satisfy your curiosity about Laos’ history, politics, textiles, and so on. When you are ready to take a break from Laos heat, duck into one of these museums and start learning about this country.
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