Fascinating History of Parasol Blanc in Luang Prabang

The story of Parasol Blanc is a fascinating one and begins during the reign of King Sisavang Phoulivong. Born in 1885 he was king of the Kingdom of Luang Prabang and later the Kingdom of Laos. At this time Luang Prabang was a French protectorate within French Indochina and during the early years of his reign, the French built a modern palace for him, the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang that also served as his private residence.

One of his royal followers was Mr Phao Vithamaly, head of the commercial department of Northern Laos. As part of the administration, Mr Phao and his family were given a royalty status. The eldest born Tieng, unlike his father, was an entrepreneur and ultimately the founder of Parasol Blanc. While many often marvel at the vast numbers of temples in Laos, one hardly asks the question how these temples are built. Part of the answer lies in Parasol Blanc. The earth from the pond in the centre of the property was used to make a large number of bricks to assist in building the numerous temples in Luang Prabang and around the country.

Over time, removal of the best quality soil for the activity of brick making formed a crater. From an offshoot to the Mekong River that used to meander through the property, a pond was formed. The pond at Parasol Blanc along with the neighboring (now classified) “wetlands” are the results of nature and the success of the quality of bricks produced from this little corner of Luang Prabang.

Today the pond is a beautiful lotus pond, nestled right in the middle of Parasol Blanc and protected by the UNESCO Free Zone. Ever the entrepreneur, Tieng wanted to make this special land was kept ‘alive’. He started rearing fresh water fish for trade and worked with another keen entrepreneur who built villas around the pond to ensure the story of its amazing history could be shared to future generations.

The logo of Parasol Blanc pays homage to the history, incorporating the “white parasol” from the crest and flag used during the time of the Royal administration.

e: laos@destination-asia.com

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