Royal Palace

Sights Type / Museums & galleries
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  • Royal Palace
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Location

Luang Prabang, Laos

Address

Haw kham, Luang Prabang, Laos

Getting there

Access The Royal Palace of Luang Prabang (Haw Kham) is located in the historic centre of the town of Luang Prabang (former capital of Laos), no official address the best way is to go Sisavangvong Street, next to the Wat Mai Temple and climb stairs to the Wat Chom If hill.

Due to the unique location of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, in the center of the city, it is better walking. Transport alternative is to use a tuk-tuk, where the race to the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang will cost about 15,000 kip (approx. €1).

Telephone

+856 71 71 212470

More information

https://web.facebook.com/pages/Royal-Palace-Museum-Luang-Prabang, https://foursquare.com/v/royal-palace-museum-luang-prabang

Prices

Access to the gardens and exterior of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabanga and the temple Haw Pha Bang is free. To access the interior of the Museum and the temple Haw Pha Bang should pay input. The price of the ticket are 30,000 kip (approx. € 3, see) Currency of Laos() and allows access to both inside the National Museum and the temple Haw Pha Bang.

Opening hours

The Royal Palace of Luang Prabang is open daily during hours the morning from 8:00 up to the 11:30 and evenings from 13:30 until the 16:00. Last entry 3.30pm

Note: mentioned in some guidebooks to the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang closes Tuesday, however at the box office told us that yes they open Tuesday. This information is consistent with the informative poster of the opening hours of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang / National Museum which is located at the entrance to Haw Kham..

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The former Royal Palace, now turned into a museum is situated on the banks of the Mekong river, facing the sacred Mount Phousi. Locally the Palace is known as the Haw Kham or Ho Kham, which translates to “Golden Palace”.

Evoking traditional Lao and French beaux-arts styles, the former Royal Palace was built in 1904 and was home to King Sisavang Vong (r 1905–59), whose statue stands outside. Within are tasteful, decidedly sober residential quarters, with some rooms preserved much as they were when the king was captured in 1975.

Separate outbuildings display the Floating Buddha collection of meditation photographs and the five-piece Royal Palace Car Collection .

The Luang Prabang Royal Palace and national museum is a set of buildings in French colonial style, dating back to the year 1904. Today the Royal Palace has been converted into the National Museum of Luang Prabang. In the grounds of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, formally Haw Kham are the National Museum, the theatre and the eye-catching Temple Haw Pha Bang.

The Royal Palace of Luang Prabang was built in the year 1904 by mandate of King Sisavang Vong along the banks of the Mekong River to replace the old palace, damaged by Chinese militia in 1887. At that then Laos was part of French Indochina, overpowering French very obvious in this building.

The Palacio Real de Luang Prabang, whose official name is Haw Kham and its literal translation is Golden Palace, is a clear French influence building built with brick and teak wood. The style of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang is mixed French Beaux Arts architecture and traditional Laotian architecture (the) Presidential Palace in Vientiane (it is another example of the beaux arts in Laos architecture).

The main function of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang was to be the home of the Royal family of Laos. It was in 1975 when the Communist Party of Laos took power and the monarchy was abolished by driving out the Real from the Palace of Luang Prabang family. The Royal Palace was closed until the year 1995 which opened its doors to the public reconverted at the National Museum of Luang Prabang, Museum that is still active today.

The enclosure include the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang is composed of 3 buildings:

  • The Luang Prabang National Museum: the old Royal Palace in the city.
  • The Temple Haw Pha Bang: the showy and ornamental Temple located at the entrance to the grounds of the Royal Palace.
  • Theatre: today it is possible to attend dance shows and theatre performances.

The National Museum of Luang Prabang

In the interior of the Palace Royal of Luang Prabang, the converted National Museum, has been preserved intact since the year 1975, all the furniture and decoration of the National Museum are originating in the Royal Palace, this does not allow to witness the lifestyle of the Kings: impressive staircases of marble, art of incalculable value, collections of weapons, mural paintings depicting life in Laos in the last decades, jewelry, the Royal Crown and can even access the garage to see the car collection of the Lao King (mainly American cars from the 1950s to the 1970s).

Dress code and restrictions on access to the Royal Palace

The main building of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang currently serves as the National Museum of Luang Prabang. In the interior of the Royal Palace / National Museum is forbidden to make photographs or videos, with backpacks or large bags are not allowed, and is required to remove your shoes (Note: socks are allowed).

To access the inside of the enclosure it is necessary pay input, shoes are and let any backpacks or bulky bag out. At the main entrance to the National Museum is at the disposal of visitors a free luggage storage service, where store shoes and backpacks (we recommend you not to let the cameras / video or any item of value in luggage, it is possible to access the inside of the enclosure with the camera but can not be used).

Women must dress with long skirt or trousers, in case of failure to comply with the dress code is necessary to resort to luggage, where it provided free Lao long skirts.

Haw Pha Bang temple

The building is striking from the grounds of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang is the Temple Haw Pha Bang, also called Wat Ho Pha Bang and whose translation means Royal Temple. It is a modern Buddhist temple built in the year 2006 with a beautiful and elaborate decoration in the main façade. Although the temple Wat Ho Pha Bang may seem old, the construction of the temple Haw Pha Bang began in 1963 and was finally completed in 2006, the delay is due to the suspension of the works during the Communist period.

The Haw Pha Bang Temple was built to House the statue of the Buddha Phra Bang, the most sacred and revered Laos Buddha.

Phra Bang Buddha

It is a statue of 83 centimeters in height which has the honour of giving name to the city of Luang Prabang (Luang Prabang and Buddha Phra Bang). According to the legend the Phra Bang Buddha statue was built 2000 years ago in Sri Lanka, looted and stolen by the armies of the Kingdom of Siam, currently set out in a huge sanctuary inside the temple Wat Haw Pha Bang.

The Theatre of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang

The gardens, fountains and building of the Theatre Royal are located opposite the temple Wat Haw Pha Bang. There are theatrical performances, and dance performances where the public can attend, upon acquisition of input. The entrance to the theatre shows real costs between 80,000 kip and 180,000 kip.

In the gardens on the way to the theatre is the statue of King Sisavang Vong, King who lived in the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang (in the city of Vientiane there is another statue of the King himself together with the) Wat Si Muang).

The front wing

The King’s reception hall at the right of the entrance now displays busts and paintings of the Lao monarchy along with two large gilded and lacquered Ramayana screens.

The walls of the room are decorated with murals depicting scenes of traditional Lao lifestyles, painted by a French artist back in the 1930s.

The room next to the right of the King’s reception hall displays a collection of the palace’s most prized art including a cast of the prized Pha Bang buddha statue in gold, silver and bronze.

On the left of the entrance hall the former secretary’s reception area now houses gifts from various heads of state to the Lao monarchy. Displayed objects are grouped by “socialist” and “capitalist” countries.

The room to the left of the secretary’s reception was once the Queen’s reception room. It now displays paintings of King Savang Vatthana, Queen Khamphoui and the crown Prince Vong Savang. Also displayed are friendship flags from China and Vietnam, and replicas of sculpture from the National Museum in New Delhi.

The throne hall

The throne hall connects the reception wing with the residential wing where the royal family’s bedrooms and living quarter were. The walls of this room are decorated with cut mirrored tile mosaics similar to those seen in the town’s oldest temple, Wat Xieng Thong. Displayed in the throne hall are the throne of the king and queen, the king’s elephant chair and glass cases containing many crystal Buddha images that were removed from Wat That Makmo.

The Back Wing (residential area)

The back wing was the royals’ residential area and includes bedrooms, a dining room, a library and a music and dance exhibits area displaying Lao classical instruments and masks.

The residential area has been preserved more or less as it was in 1975 before the royal family departed.

Opening hours and entrance fee to the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang

The Royal Palace of Luang Prabang from Vientiane is open daily during hours the morning from 8:00 up to the 11:30 and evenings from 13:30 until the 16:00.

Note: mentioned in some guidebooks to the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang closes Tuesday, however at the box office told us that yes they open Tuesday. This information is consistent with the informative poster of the opening hours of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang / National Museum which is located at the entrance to Haw Kham.

Access to the gardens and exterior of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabanga and the temple Haw Pha Bang is free. To access the interior of the Museum and the temple Haw Pha Bang should pay input. The price of the ticket are 30,000 kip (approx. € 3, see) Currency of Laos and allows access to both inside the National Museum and the temple Haw Pha Bang.

How to get the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang

The Royal Palace of Luang Prabang (Haw Kham) is located in the historic centre of the town of Luang Prabang (former capital of Laos), no official address the best way is to go Sisavangvong Street, next to the Wat Mai Temple and climb stairs to the Wat Chom If hill.

Due to the unique location of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, in the center of the city, it is better walking. Transport alternative is to use a tuk-tuk, where the race to the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang will cost about 15,000 kip (approx. €1).

Admission to the museum

Footwear cannot be worn inside the museum, no photography is permitted and you must leave bags in a locker room to the left-hand side of the main entrance.

Dress conservatively. Women with short shorts or skirts are required to put on a Lao skirt before entering (Lao skirts are available for hire on spot).

Reviews by visitors

In this great location the national museum is sorounded by other things to do. But better than those other things is the palace itself. It gives you a massive insight into how the royal family would have loved. It is very interesting to see all the original furniture. It should only take an hour, and I recommend bringing walking shoes but there is no need for a camera as there is no photographs aloud in the palace.

~Lukewomers

30k seemed a little much for what this is. The building is not very old, nor are the rooms or many of the items inside. The occasional thing is more interesting, but I wouldn't stress too much if you don't go inside. Maybe more interesting for someone studying Luang Prabang history. 

The grounds, Royal cars and temple to the side are free to wander without a ticket.

~putney2015

Fabulous artefacts and decorative items on display, showcasing Laotian royalty in full glory- their cars, they china sets, upholstery, grand dining halls, paintings...the list is endless...must visit.

~Nish_SG

A must see.

I recommend a guided tour to help understand the history of the palace. The last king met an untimely end in the 1970s as the communists took over. He was summoned to a meeting outside of town and has never been heard from since.

Behind the palace is an old garage with 5 cars from the 1960s - gifts to a king from USA presidents. Hey, we wanted allies in Laos.

~GalvestonJT

It's 30,000 kip entry. The temple is beautiful and the ground well kept. A small Royal car exhibit to look at. For the palace museum your required to be covered, you can rent cloths for 5,000 kip, you can't take your bags in nor take photos. They have lockers to store your items. Interesting to wonder around and a variety of items to look at, some information provided. Worth having a look if you have a spare hour or so

~Jaxx26

Small as far as palaces go. But interesting to go through the different rooms and lots of nice artifacts scattered through.

You'll need to cover up shoulders and knees (so bring a t-shirt/shawl). Also no bags inside, but they provide secure lockers for free.

TIP: They close at certain times of day. Check the schedule beforehand.

~vivi c

There isn't a whole lot to see inside, and what's there doesn't have much written about it. Audio tour would make a massive difference.

~CorinalW

Royal palace museum is worth visiting, the throne hall and the Haw Prabang being the most impressive. The Haw Prabang also known as the royal temple is carved with Buddhist depictions in Green and Gold with the Green color making it a beautiful and unique sight. The throne hall on the other hand houses the Crown Jewels of Laos. Other rooms open to public include the reception and bedrooms of the royal family which gives you a glimpse to the culture and history of Laos. Do note that photography is not allowed in the museum.

~Lawrence G

Interesting, and a reflection of the small size and relative wealth of Laos. Good quality artefacts set in a palace which is more like a large family house. Allow an hour, unless a real seeker after knowledge.

~how7Mar

Really worth the admission fee. You get great insight into Lao history and the Royal family. Honestly all these things are offered as tour packages... Don't waste your money as you can walk to all the attractions in Luang Prabang in an afternoon.

~larkanw

This is not a spectacular, gold-encrusted palace but worth the visit for the throne room's glass relief murals and the surprise of the simple bedrooms of the former king and queen. You'd expect something more ... royal. But the bedrooms are furnished with an almost spartan decor. It's also interesting to see what nations gave the royal family. I was disappointed to discover that the royal car exhibit was closed.

~christina s

History of the palace and the royal family. My favorite was about the Prince told by a series of wall paintings. Not for everyone. This place is a museum full of relics, artifacts, royal regalia from the king and queen. More for those who want to know the history of Laos.

~Jess C

We visited this museum and felt that it was a little run down and not very informative. It has interesting historical artefacts from the royal family but limited historical information. The main building was well kept but the grounds were not very well looked after. You can only access the main palace and the garage that houses the historical cars. Men must wear pants below knee and women need to have upper arms covered (how much seems to be rather arbitrarily decided by the locker attendant). You can hire appropriate coverings for 5000 kip.

~Brendan P

Same as its name. This palace/museum is mainly about the royal family of Laos from 18-20th century. It's a nice structure, good arranged building.

If you visit this palace in the morning, be noted that it will close around 11am. After that, even if you are inside, they will close doors/windows one by one, even with the main entrance gate outside. And you will have to go out only by back door.

~Thi N

Do yourself a favour and visit this wonderfully preserved palace. Best rainy day activity in central LP.

~Hudson621

A must place when you visit Luang Prabang. To learn its past to understand its presence. Please be aware that the museum close in noon.

~Sari S

It was way overpriced at 30,000kp and not worth the visit. We were expecting to learn about the traditional Lao culture and there was no information at all. Just an irrelevant story cut into 16 different photo frames throughout the building. The temple on the grounds is pretty but not unique and cannot be accessed by the public. I witnessed the teller selling tickets to other tourists who clearly weren't dressed appropriately, allowing them to walk to the palace where there was a man waiting to tell them that they could not enter and their tickets were no longer valid. In my opinion it's a well planned scam.

~Sarah O

It is quite interesting, as you can imagine, how the royalties lived during their days. I've seen larger and more luxurious palaces, but it is definitely worth a visit!

~Sandy6352

Worth seeing if only too view how royalty lived and to see what they regard as grandeur. Be aware the palace closes for lengthy lunch break. Toilets outside were dirty and had no t-paper - bring your own.

~2Travellers99

You'll get to see how "well off" lived in Luang Prabang. Spoiler alert - the story has an unhappy ending when you hear the last king was sent from his luxurious palace to a re-education camp where he died.

~DaleBbB

A visit to the royal palace is mooted as an essential for every tourist to Luang Prabang - I enjoy museum but this one is easily missable - granted it highlights the grand living of the royalty but it gives little insight into Laos history

~Theresa F

Back to the Kings and elephants...An amazing city full of vibes and history. Beautiful pictures to be taken, the mosaics on the walls and the bougainvilliers..

~CocotiersSA

It was great to see and to learn differnet culture from my country's culture. The walking in the palace, the cars, the weapons and the statues worth the money and the time. Recommend.

~tommers75

Its an interesting insight into the royal life in Laos and seeing how they lived. There's not a whole bunch to see so I would skip it if you're on limited time. Its closed around lunchtime

~Alan F

We came without a tour guide and perhaps this ruined it. Although the palace is far from engaging with or without someone explaining things. 

There is plenty of information to read but frankly most of it is a dull affair. 

They also have a questionable door policy. Those with guides who had shoulders out were allowed in but those without were asked to rent an item of clothing from them. This was an infuriating start! 

The large portrait towards the end is the highlight (keeping this rating a two rather than one) but I wouldn't recommend paying to go in here.

~Lamp93

Take your shoes off, use the lockers to stow your stuff and go take a look at the artifacts and gifts to the royal family and the people of Laos. I was very surprised to see a model of the lunar lander from apollo 17 along with a moon rock and a small flag that was taken to the moon and back gifted to the Laos people. Kinda like any other museum. Can get a bit much after a short while. Most signage was in both Lao and English.

~Shermyy1

Worth a visit as you actually get close to the displays and can see the details. If you don't have a guide there are details displayed in English. Probably take you a couple of hours after which you can head up to the Stupa across the road if you do not mind the steps - about 170.

~Will154

It is very interesting to visit the royal palace, but it is a shame that you are not allowed to take pictures and it is very strange that the souvenir shop doesn't sell any picture books or (good) postcards with pictures of the rooms. It is also interesting to see the contrasts between the official rooms and the private rooms of the royal familiy. The temple to the right is newly built - housing the famous golden buddah. In the most recent version of Lonely Planet, this building is indicated as being under construction.

~JLC-1972

Very attractive grounds. Shoes must be removed and left outside. Since we had fairly new shoes, we tried to put them into a locker. We were told (shouted at) that only bags may be put into lockers. Fortunately we had a plastic bag, because it was OK to put the shoes into the bag and then into the locker. ??? No cameras are allowed. There were many things to see but one would have to know the history of the era because artifacts were all mixed up. Signage was poor.

~glyntor

It is right next door to the Prabang Budda and gives you a great idea about Lao history and how it's royal family lived.

~PepePitMD

If you are a photo nut don't go because you have to check your camera along with your shoes. It is now a museum in an ornate building set amid manicured gardens. I would not put it on the top of you list.

~micheal p

We had an excellent guide who knew his stuff chosen by trail to angkor tours from Seim Reap Cambodia. Phonsy was good at telling us the whole history of Laos in resent times which makes it what it is today. Some of the story is sad as we heard of the secret war and what happened there which i will tell later on another review of the plain of Jars. We were taken on a boat tour and the water falls where i went swimming under the small falls in a pool of blue water. Yes it was cold. i use my walking pole which was helpful and necessary on this trip. Later you will see why on the plain of jars 2400 steps i climbed when others gave up. Lots to see in a better climate because of the elevation at 3000 feet.

~franzkarlbecker

There is a small fee for entry to the museum and pagoda. Grounds are well-groomed. The museum is interesting because it shows the history of Luang Prabang's royalty., The monarchy ended in 1975. The pagoda was closed by the time I tried to enter at 4:00, but I still,enjoyed the beauty of the building.

~Cathie M

Worth seeing, but don't go if you object to taking your shoes off. You have to leave them in a locker along with you camera. No photos allowed which is a shame. No apparent reason.

~Nigel M

30,000kip to enter. 

Shoulders and thighs must be covered (you can rent out clothes there if not for a deposit). Cameras are not allowed inside which I found a little odd. 

The palace is located in beautiful gardens and the palace is covered in mosaic glass. There are some amazing artefacts in the building. 

Signs are in English too which was nice. 

Only wish the place had a little section about the history of Laos. 

~Khammo

Worth the fee with some amazing artifacts.

We were surprised by this place. It's not huge and takes about an hour and it only cost around £3 - 30,000 kip. 

Have a look as it also is in a nice garden setting.

~Paulbo4

You can see more Luang Prabang travel guide at here.