“Too Many Temples”
We started our life in Asia in the town of Luang Prabang, Laos. I was quite pregnant and did not go out socializing that much. In the little interaction I had with other travelers, I had my fill of them commenting about “too many temples”. They are after all, everywhere; Buddhist, Thai, Chinese and Hindu temples. In Luang Prabang they are as common and as spread out as the 7/11s in Bangkok. Maybe too many for some people.
Temples in Laos and Thailand are called “Wats”. All Wats have a main Buddha image and countless other images all around it; green ones, gold ones, wooden ones, sitting ones, standing ones, laying down ones, hungry ones, sad looking ones. They are quite a sight and each combination is a treat to look at.
In Bangkok, the Wats tend to be quite big. Some are huge with large important Buddhas and lots of colorful stupas around in the patios. In Luang Prabang the Wats are smaller, quainter. These are the Wats that our little family got to know quite well in three months. Big Kiddo would visit some every single day and a couple only once during our whole stay. What they all had in common is that Big Kiddo and his dad gave them all nicknames.
The Wats and their nicknames
Our all time family favorite was the Wat Bola. Its real name is Wat Visoun, and also has a local nickname; “Makmo” which means Watermelon. Its most memorable aspect is a domed roof, hence Wat Bola. For the locals, Watermelon Wat. He liked walking around the big stone stupa, and we liked the grounds and awesome little ecosystem.
The Wat Rampa was called that because the back entrance had a ramp to enter and another ramp connecting to another Wat. There was a mural that we used to look at, an illustrated legend. That had a nickname too, La Caca Dorada after the big golden conch shell that looked like poop.
On the stairs that made up the main entrance to the Wat Rampa, the guardian Naga serpent had lost a large amount of scales. Big Kiddo would stop there every time and want to fix it with his boogers. Finally the monks (he called them “naranjas”) fixed the wound with plaster and Big Kiddo blessed it. With boogers!
The Wat Palacio was the one inside the Royal Palace Museum. The inside walls were gilded in gold and housed the base for the most important Buddha image in all of Luang Prabang. The actual image is put away in a different room in the main museum and can only be seen through a window while kneeling. Here Big Kiddo liked de Naga Serpents with seven heads sticking out their tongues in waves. Even if he didn´t go in that Wat all the time, he could always see it from the Night Market Street at its best moment, magic hour right before sunset.
The Wat Raro was one thats up top of a hill a little bit outside of town, great place to watch the sunset. Big Kiddo skinned his knee running down the road. After that he wouldn´t look at the wound for weeks until it had healed, creating complications for bathtime.
The Wat Peces had a shallow pool with fish and there were lot of young naranjas that used to come over to talk and play with Big Kiddo. This one was close to another Wat that didn´t get a nickname because its real name was so memorable…
Wat Xien Thong. I find it amusing that it sounds a lot like Washington. Reminds of The Sexy Woman ruins over the Historic city of Cusco.
How To get to these temples? Luang Prabang is a town in Laos, nestled in a Peninsula where the Mekong and Khan rivers meet.
Here’s a map for your reference! This great map was created by the Amantaka Hotel. I always used this map while we were in Luang Prabang.