Temples, Alms and the Mekong River

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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang
August 23rd 2011
Published: May 25th 2014
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We arrived in Luang Prabang, Laos which is set at the confluence of two rivers that almost surround the town, and beneath a temple-topped hill, Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and hints of European architecture, reminders of when Laos was part of the French colony of Indochine. Golden-roofed wats (temples), decorated with mosaics and murals of the life of Buddha, sit under the gaze of wrap-around teak balconies and 19th century shuttered windows. All of this is set against a backdrop of verdant greenery and rugged mountains. (Description from WikiVoyage)

Upon arrival at our hotel we walked into town and had a bite to eat. Our hotel was a 15 minute walk just out of town along the Mekong river. By the time we got to the hotel it was already dark, so we were not too sure of the surroundings but it seemed beautiful and especially serene. The town at night was quieter than Vietnam, a welcomed change.

We attempted some Laos cuisine our first night - fried seaweed with sesame seeds and verrrrrry spicy sauce as well as a few other dishes. Our experience so far - Lots of anise.

Our daily breakfast at the hotel was by the mekong river (the hotel is on the river) and Gali finally had some tasty coffee - yippeeee.

Over our two days in Luang Prabang we took advantage of the complimentary bicycles provided by the hotel and explored the town and area, visiting many temples, vistas and nooks and crannies. We also took a boat trip along the Mekong river which exposed us to the largely economic and cultural role of the river.

The city is well known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries to which we visited many. We also hiked Phou Si, the hill that rises from the city centre and provides a beautiful panoramic of the whole area.

On our last morning we woke up at 5am to see the Alms Ceremony where, at dawn, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms of rice from kneeling villagers (and early-rising tourists like us).

Additional photos below
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Gali and Seth


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The Market

Notice how Gali's head is touching the tarp. We had to walk through the market hunched over.
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Gali went a perfect 3 for 3.

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