Yesterday was the first full moon of the new lunar year, and the final day of the traditional Tết celebration in Vietnam. This small shrine near my home was decorated with flowers for Tết.
Wen Sheng Temple is taken from the three red Chinese characters above the gateway. I do not know if “Wen Sheng” refers to a person or has a meaning, and I was unable to find any information about this building online. English language information, that is. Located on Phan Chu Trinh street in the Hoi An Old Town.
Nhà Thờ Tân Định is a Roman Catholic church in Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon. A well-known local landmark, the church was built about 150 years ago when southern Vietnam was a French colony called Cochinchina, a part of French Indochina. I have no idea what the pink color is about. Da Nang’s Roman Catholic cathedral is also a garish pink.
Not all of the Buddhist temples in Luang Prabang were gilded and affluent looking. The grounds of Wat Siphoutthabath were rather overgrown and some of the buildings were locked and appeared to be not in use. Beauty of a different sort.
This stately temple is located next to the Royal Palace formerly occupied by the king resident in Luang Prabang. Today the palace is a historical museum, part of the UNESCO Town of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. Though I did not see any activity when I was there, I assume the temple is still in use.
There was a group of a couple of dozen young monks visiting Wat Xiengthong when I was there. The monks I have seen in Thailand have not been particularly outgoing, so I did not pay much attention to this group and went about my business taking photos. Eventually, one of the group approached me and said hello. It turned out the monks were students at a university in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. I am not sure if they were at a Buddhist school of some kind or attending a public university. In any case, they were touring several places in Laos to visit well-known holy sites, of which Wat Xiengthong is definitely one.
Once the first guy worked up the nerve to say hello, it was open season and a number of people came up to meet and talk with me. All of them were very friendly and disarmingly charming. Most spoke decent English and one monk spoke very good Chinese. It was fun talking to him for a few minutes, as I rarely use my Chinese these days. Meeting an American was definitely a novelty and there were numerous questions asked. Pictures were taken. I was invited to accompany the group to another site somewhere in Luang Prabang. I was interested, but this was my final day in Laos and I had to make my way back to the guesthouse soon to check out. I could not really figure out how far away the other place was and so had to decline the invitation. Alas.