Dave in Thailand Laos
Luang Prabang March 20-24 2006 (part 2: Phousi Hill)

Well, just to refresh things, here is the big hill in the middle of Luang Prabang, called Phousi (or Phu Si, different spellings) - the 24 meter high stupa on top is called That Chomsi (which means I do not know what ...)

Phu Si hill

The book says the mountain, or hill, is only about 100 meters high, but it seems like more! But first you get your supplies - the flowers to place in the temple, and in the little cages are birds - this is something you see in Thailand at most Buddhist festivals as well, you purchase the caged birds and set them free, making merit. A thought occurs to me - with no prejudice either way, just a thought (I am not a religious person in any formal way) - at least one teaching of Jesus I recall was that you should do your praying in private, but much of Buddhism seems to parallel the saying we have about justice not only needing to be done, but being seen to be done...

buying flowers at the bottom

old lady selling flowers and caged birds


dave on Phu Si stairs

ann on Phu Si stairs Don't walk so fast!!

Ok! - halfway, take a break (camera is sitting on a ledge - we forgot the tripod!)

halfway up the Phu Si stairs

- and another pic together at the top (this time we got one of the other climbers to take it) -

Dave and Ann on top of the mountain

It's hard to get a good picture of the place overall, because it's so small up here you can't get far enough away to get it all in, unless you're able to walk on air or something, which noone there at the time was able to do. If one could be a butterfly,perhaps - here I am watching a butterfly - there were many, many beautiful ones there, although they were disinclined to stop in one place anywhere near long enough to get a picture ...

Dave at the top with butterfly (?)

- but the views were really good, all the way around - there were trees, but always spaces to see back over the river in both directions, or to the east - here, Ann is looking over the airport, which would be, I guess, 2-3 miles as the crow flies (although there didn't seem to be many birds at all around Luang Prabang, for some reason)

ann on Phu Si looking over airport

- and Ann doing her prayers in the shrine, always an important part of such things for Buddhists, they take comfort from these ceremonies -

ann in the Phu Si shrine

- and then time to let the birds go - it was a tricky thing, there were no doors in the little cages so you had to kind of pry the bars apart, and of course the little birds weren't anxious to get near your fingers, but with a little patience everything worked out ... be free my little brothers!!!

Dave releasing birds

Ann releasing birds

down the back way from Phu Si ...and after a few minutes more looking at things, which didn't take long there wasn't really much there, and you can only look at the views for so long, it was time to head back down. This time we took the "back" stairs, that come out at at another wat called Siphouttabath, which was where the picture was taken the first day of us overlooking the Khan river (the green arrow in the map following, the red arrow is the front stairs where we started, right across from the National Museum we looked at yesterday)

showing Wat Siphouttabath

- there was another old wat halfway down this side of the mountain called Wat pha Phutthabaht, not really formally a temple as there are no monks present, but with some interesting old ruins, some of which (they say!) date back over 600 years, and this newer reclining Buddha -

Ann at the reclining Buddha

Dave and the reclining Buddha (which is which?!?!haha!)

- and this interesting display, I've never seen anything like this before, with kneeling Buddhist monks as well as the Buddha -

Buddha with followers

- and then down these Naga stairs to a shrine for the footprint of the Buddha -

the stairs to the Buddha footprint

- and this is the small building that covers the footprint of the Buddha, on the left, overlooking the Khan river, facing to the northeast - the Buddhists do so many things like this, they seem to be very concerned with doing things in a beautiful way in beautiful places (and I'm not complaining! - there are times when appearances are important! - there's a holistic connection here - beauty begets beauty, I think - would you rather meditate in a surrounding like this, or in the midst of a battlefield surrounded by weapons? where your mind is, is where your mind is (and I just made that one up, but I think it is very true...)

the shrine over the Buddha footprint

- and here is Ann, taking a break and looking over the same beautiful view ...

ann looking over the khan river

...and that was about the end of things, actually. We walked along the Khan River to where it met the Mekong, but it was early afternoon, the hottest part of the day (we're talking around 40 degrees C here, hot!), and there wasn't a lot of activity - the boy blowing bubbles was a polite young guy, we saw quite a few kids doing the same thing -

boy blowing bubbles

- this is the junction of these two rivers - looks quite a bit more impressive around October, they tell me, just at the height of the rainy season, after 3-4 months of heavy raining -

the junction of the Mekong and Khan Rivers at Luang Prabang, March 2006

- and finally found another restaurant over the Mekong for a late lunch - this one is almost at the end of the peninsula, just down from the Xiang Thong Wat, where we met a man who said he had a boat to go on a trip up the Mekong the next day.... Louis restaurant over the Mekong

And then there was - Luang Prabang - Day 3 - A Trip on the Mekong.

Other Dave in Thailand stuff:

Wien Tien
PSU AG Fair 2004
Loy Gratong at PSU 2004
Kuching 2004

this site is mostly sort of a photo album for some friends and family, but if you have stumbled across it somehow on the net and want to contact me, you can write to siamdave at yahoo dot ca