Friday, October 19, 2012

Luang Prabang, Laos: Rise Early to Feed the Monks (and Bowl at Night. Really)

Luang Prabang, Laos is small, but jam packed with things to do and beauty.  No wonder it's an UNESCO World Heritage site http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/479.

The beauty struck me immediately, as did the color orange. Monks bathed in the river; surely one of the most stunning bathing areas I've seen. I also caught sight of orange as they walked from their agriculture across the bridge to town.




Before the sun rose, we woke to give alms to the monks. I am not a morning person and thought I would struggle.  Once out of bed, the town in the darkness was captivating.  At the center of town, I felt a part of something peaceful and good. I joined with people lining the streets to feed the monks.


With my basket of rice filled, I waited.  The procession began.
 


Even taking photos, along with at least 100 other tourists, you couldn't miss the deference to the monks. Women have to be careful not to touch the monks.



An attraction in Luang Prabang is Wat Xieng Thong, a Buddhist monastery.









This location is also known as the monastery of the Golden City. 

The sun was starting to dip low in the sky.  
Taking good photos was not easy, but perhaps 
the gold here is meant to be remembered and not
captured.

I took a photo of a young couple here.  They returned the favor.  That's one fact that never changes, people are always happy to help fellow tourists with photos. But, if you give your camera to someone to take your photo, be as sure as you can that the person won't run off with your camera. 

At night, we wandered around the night market.  I purchased a bright elephant purse for my niece and a lovely wrap with lots of purple for myself.  Afterward, we went to the bowling alley. I hadn't bowled in years.  I hadn't expected in this small, UNESCO World Heritage site that I would bowl again.  

Bowling alley night with my tour group was one of my most memorable travel nights I've had in all my travels.  I wouldn't recommend the drinks here though, unless you don't care that what you order may not taste or look anything like what you likely receive at a bar at home.


The sites in Luang Prabang were either a short walk or tuk tuk ride away from Visoun Namsok Hotel. http://www.agoda.com/asia/laos/luang_prabang/visoun_namsok_hotel.html

This hotel is not in the center of town, but my room was spacious, modern as I recall, and quiet.  I also enjoyed the walk to town, which brought me by the Nam Khan River where the monks were bathing in their orange.

5 comments:

  1. Awesome! I haven't been to Luang Prabang in 10 years, but I'll be there next year with the kids, we'll most certainly be checking out the bowling. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for contacting me Debra, I appreciate that very much. I couldn't find your contact page, sorry. Alyson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alyson. It's in the right hand margin of my blog, under Contact Me. My email is deblyfe@aol.com.

      Delete
  3. I've long wanted to visit Laos, and now will add "giving alms to monks" and 'bowling" to my list of things to do when I get there! I once had a conversation with a monk at the ruins in Ayutthaya, Thailand and he asked for my business card. A comical exchange ensued as he kept asking me to write more and more information on the card, and every time we handed it back and forth I couldn't touch him.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cara, Laos was gorgeous and interesting. Whether you choose to do it or not, look into tubing in Vang Vieng. They have a bar in town that shows reruns of Friends and another that shows reruns of Family Guy. Too funny.

    I loved Ayuttahaya. No touching the monks - that must have been comical. I was so self conscious about it, I probably looked like an odd girl when walking by them in tighter spaces or crowds.

    ReplyDelete