30
Aug 2016
1
Travel by Design
To Be or Not to Be

..that tourist who refuses to help keep the Luang Prabang, Laos experience as it should be.

Admittedly, this is more of a challenge for people who travel to world heritage sites such as Luang Prabang than a travel piece. You see, Luang Prabang is quiet and lovely.  Designated as the first Unesco listed site in Laos, just wandering down its streets is beautiful in itself.  Let these photos give you a feel.

Laos-Luang-Prabang

Luang Prabang National Museum

Main Road

Restaurants, shops, and other conveniences at the Main Road

A hike up the Phu Si Hill

A hike up the Phu Si Hill

Enjoy stunning 360 degree views at the top of Phou Si Hill

Enjoy stunning 360 degree views at the top of Phou Si Hill

However, the top-listed reason for most is the alms giving ceremony. This long-standing tradition has monks walking the streets of Luang Prabang at dawn, receiving rice (traditionally).

Alms giving ceremony

Alms giving ceremony

It is strongly recommended to consider only watching this old tradition from a distance instead of using it as a tourist attraction, as this may destroy the beauty of the ritual – both for locals and tourists alike. These days, however, despite the numerous reminders on-site and in travel guides, it is slowly becoming less authentic, thanks to tourists who have no sense of respect. Some come in inappropriate clothing, some stand right next to them, flash them in the eyes, or take selfies, and some give food just for the sake of.  In case you are wondering, this basket contains alms that the monks have gotten rid of.

Do not give spoiled rice and junk food

Do not give spoiled rice and junk food

It is said that traditionally, monks share their alms, mainly rice for the day, with children and the less fortunate. These days however, the baskets look like the above: with lots of spoiled rice.

Still, this traveler is thankful that there were glimpses of this tradition, thanks to this young man and the elderly woman who waited contemplatively (others were just there for the obligatory tourist experience despite some being Buddhists themselves) , who were both sitting on their legs (not on plastic chairs), and were handing out freshly prepared rice, respectfully bowing each time.

Waiting quietly

Waiting quietly

Alms giving, the traditional way

Alms giving, the traditional way

P.S.

Visit the Kuang Si Waterfalls and meander.

Kuang Si

Kuang Si

 

 


One response to “To Be or Not to Be”

  1. Kristen says:

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written! http://bing.net

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