Image by Yulin Lu Getty Images

Luang Prabang's best-known monastery is centred on a 1560 sǐm (ordination hall). Its roofs sweep low to the ground and there's a stunning 'tree of life' mosaic set on its western exterior wall. Close by are several stupas and three compact little chapel halls called hŏr. Hŏr Ɖąi, shaped like a tall tomb, now houses a standing Buddha. The Hŏr Ɖąi Pha Sai-nyàat, dubbed La Chapelle Rouge – Red Chapel – by the French, contains a rare reclining Buddha.

Fronted in lavish gilt work, the Hóhng Kép Mîen stores a ceremonial carriage, festooned with red-tongued nagas (river serpents) designed to carry the golden funeral urns of the Lao royalty.