I’m still loving Luang Prabang and I can’t say enough wonderful things about this town. There are so many wonderful cafes and restaurants with terraces overlooking the two rivers, charming little boutique guesthouses line the French colonial streets, the pace is laid back, the traffic slow. But there are two additional things that this city is also known for its achingly beautiful sunsets and the morning alms-giving to the Buddhist monks. Joan and I witnessed both: back-to-back.
Included in our hotel cost is a sunset cruise on the Mekong River. We both that “meh, we’ll do it” but we thought we’d be with a hoard of people and that it was just a way to kill an hour. So, were we ever surprised to get there and realize we had the boat, the driver, a bottle of Chardonnay, and two glasses all to ourselves.
The next morning we got up really early as the alms giving to the monks happens around 6am. It the Buddhist faith you get brownie points by giving food to the monks. This works out well since they have vowed to poverty and this (I understand) is their primary source of food. It’s a solemn occasion that happens every day. Unfortunately tourists have begun to ruin it by gathering too close to the procession and sticking flash cameras in the monks faces. I refused to be a part of that problem and since it is so dark at that time of morning this time of year, I didn’t get any good photos, but here is a stock photo of a procession here in Luang Prabang.
Also, you can watch a short video here and also learn more about the tradition if you’re interested: http://vimeo.com/5359023
And here’s just a couple of bonus pictures not of either sunset or sunrise, but related:
Also, I want to mention here, if you, my dear followers, only knew what a challenge it is for me to post these blog entries in this WiFi-challenged country, you’d be commenting, sharing, and generally causing my link to come up first in Bing and Google searches! 🙂