Day 8 Sites of Interest

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Photos by MJ Klein

Continuing with our series on our recent Thailand/Laos trip, we’re going to show you some other interesting sites in Xiengkhuang Province.

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

This is Wat Phiawat, otherwise known as the “Chief of Temples.”  This temple was used for royal ceremonies, and not only was the biggest temple in Xiengkhuang town, it was also the oldest.  Wat Phaiwat was completely destroyed by bombs during the war.

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

Not much is left standing.

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

One of the remaining columns.

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

Michael Turton snaps a photo.

Wat Phiawat, Xiengkhuang Laos

On the far left you can see the only remaining section of the temple wall.

Demolished Hospital, Laos

The next place we went to was a demolished hospital.  This was part of Xiengkhuang town (Muang Phuan), which was the biggest and oldest town in the entire province.  The whole town was destroyed by the war and very little of it is left standing today.  This hospital is one of the few things left standing.

Demolished Hospital, Laos

While onsite, I noticed a GIS control point.  This reminds me to tell you that all of these photographs are geotagged.  You may click on any photograph and visit the Flickr page where you will find a link to a map.  I will geotag this article with the coordinates of the first photograph in this series.  By the way, there are more photographs that I haven’t used in this article so you may view them all in our Plain of Jars Flickr set.

Demolished Hospital, Laos

Demolished Hospital, Laos

Demolished Hospital, Laos

Demolished Hospital, Laos

Demolished Hospital, Laos

Demolished Hospital, Laos

Ancient Stupa, Laos

Within sight of the hospital above, is this stupa.

Ancient Stupa, Laos

Made out of bricks, no one was able to tell us anything about it.

Ancient Stupa, Laos

Ancient Stupa, Laos

Ancient Stupa, Laos

Ancient Stupa, Laos

We saw some Lao people shooting photos up on the stupia.

Ancient Stupa, Laos

This photo doesn’t quite convey how dangerous being up there really is.

Ancient Stupa, Laos

One slip – and it’s all over.

Ancient Stupa, Laos

Demolished Town of Xiengkhuang, Laos

This last shot is a small billboard that explains how the entire town was destroyed in the war.

Thanks for reading.  Please feel free to retweet this article.  We look forward to your questions, comments and recommendations!

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20 comments

  1. Pingback: MJ Klein
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  3. I am loving this series of blogs about your trip. I knew of the jars but not of this temple and what a spectacular place to visit. I am going to try and find more on it.

    The people climbing on the stupa were not only endangering themselves but I am 99% sure degrading the importance of it. Feet are considered dirty and one of the rudest things in Buddhism, like climbing over people, pointing your feet at people or things, (Never point them at Buddhist statues) and so forth.

    So for them to be climbing over such an important site seems a little odd to me and I am going to ask the local abbot about this when I next visit him for a chat. Maybe I am wrong.

    Thanks again for the great pictures and reporting as always mate.
    .-= Brunty´s last blog ..How to Win a Game of DONKEY, Isaan Thailand. =-.

    1. hi Brunty, thanks for your kind comments. we’re glad you’re enjoying this series. as you can tell, we had a lot of fun visiting these places.

      please do find out about climbing the stupa when you talk with the abbot. we’re all interested to know what he says. those were some reckless kids and i’m sure they didn’t have a clue how dangerous climbing that stupa really is. the bricks were loose in many places and all it would take is for one to slip out of place when underfoot…. enough said. thanks Brunty!

  4. Great photographs, particularly the stupa is fascinating. Though it’s sad to see an entire town destroyed and it’s history (mostly) lost.

    Of course young people all over the world are invulnerable, so it’s not dangerous for them to climb there, just a thrill. (Or so they think.)

    1. hi Stefan. thanks for the compliments on the photography. it sure was fun going to these sites and taking photographs. that stupa was something else! and yes you’re right about young people. they do take chances that no one would take at an older age.

      as for all the destruction, one of the things that i found interesting is that the Lao people don’t seem to hold a grudge. the vast majority of bombs were dropped by US warplanes, yet no one even asked me where i was from. i’ve had people from other countries give me a hard time over the US bombing, but the Lao people don’t seem interested in placing blame on anyone. i find that aspect of Lao society fascinating. thanks Stefan.

    1. thanks Michael. i tried to achieve the same basic angle as the photograph taken in the Plain of Jars book. but i didn’t look at the book when i was at the Wat. i should have because i now realize that the shot could have been even better! that gives me an excuse to go back someday :). take care.

  5. MJ, what wonderful pictures and just think that you got to see all this with your own eyes too, what a thrill that must have been , when I visit sights like this , I get goose bumps all over and sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I;m really there , you know some folks never venture out of there back yards and they miss sooo much , thanks for taking me along with you thru your pictures , I am really enjoying the trip hope we take another one soon . Malcolm
    .-= malcolm´s last blog ..CHARCOAL MAKING-MAKING MONEY =-.

    1. hi Malcolm. thanks for the compliments on the photos. yes we certainly did enjoy seeing these sights with our own eyes as you said. we like to travel and then review the photographs later and bring back the memories. thanks for joining us Malcolm. take care!

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  7. Any idea of how old the chief of temples is? What war was it bombed during, WWII or the Vietnam War? Those shots look so cool. I really want to check this place out now. BTW, I think I might ride with Michael in a couple of weeks, out of Sanxia. Are you coming?
    .-= Patrick Cowsill´s last blog ..Camping in Taipei =-.

    1. hi Patrick, i have no idea how old that temple was. the book that i have which mentions the temple doesn’t say. but looking at the structure and how it was made, it sure seems old. it was damaged during the “Secret War” in Laos.

      as for riding, i haven’t have much time to do anything except study Chinese. thanks.

      1. Pity, I was thinking of asking something similar. I should put in more effort in my Chinese-learning as well.

        1. hi Stefan. i wish i knew more about that temple (i haven’t checked Wikipedia though) but the book i have mentions it as a side attraction to the Plain of Jars.

          i’m in my second semester at Jiao Ta University. i’m going to write about my experience one of these days. thanks for your comment.

          1. Actually I meant to ask about cycling. But I tried my sister in laws cycle today – and while it’s a very cool machine, it’s just totally the wrong size for me. So I’m short a bicycle anyway. So much for that. 🙂

          2. hi Stefan. oh! OK! the size of the bike is very important. i bought a Giant MTB about 6 years ago and it’s really too small for me. i jacked up the handlebars up with an extension and i have the seat up in the stratosphere so i can at least ride it on errands. several years go i used to ride it to the coast about 20 KM and it would kill me to do that. i became interested in recumbents after that because the hand and arm discomfort was unbearable. once you find a bike that fits your body size you’ll be all set. if you wanna try a recumbent i’ll take you to TW-Bents where you can check them out. take care.

          3. Oh man, that would be so much fun. 🙂
            I think it would be a bit unfair to the guys though, I can’t buy one – I don’t have space for it here in Taiwan, and back in Germany I really need the diamond frame cycle – it pulls the trailer which my daughter rides in.
            (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_yFhMtbhzk3s/S_gWuWuNtoI/AAAAAAAAALk/aoNBvNwc8FI/s1600/DXD2DSC_0737.JPG)

            The problem with sis in laws cycle is that it’s completely configured for her – you can’t even jack the handlebars up, because they won’t go any higher. And well – she is way smaller than me.

          4. Stefan, the good news is that the rear wheel of the trike is essentially the same as a diamond frame bicycle. trikes pull trailers all the time and a trike can easily be configured to pull your daughter’s trailer. plus the other recumbent models have been designed so that they may also be configured for pulling trailers. many people like to tour with a trailer. that’s a nice trailer in your photo, btw! let me know if you want to try one out sometime! take care.

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