Freestyle Adventure Travel – The first day I arrived in Luang Prabang, I was surprised by the tranquil scenery and sanctuary atmosphere it possesed. This is a very special city with no modern buildings or houses with more then two stories. That’s why people say Luang Prabang is a small town the size of a big city.
As I wake up around 6:00 am, after a good night sleep at the guesthouse I’m privileged to stay at, I walk down the street and suddenly there is an orange line rising up from the dawn. Monks, from the temples, are walking in a line down the street in front of kneeling women with baskets filled with sticky rice, fruits and other foods. My host prepares a basket of fruits for me so I can join with the Lao women in their Alms ceremony. My host is a very careful women, she explains the culture to me, what I should and shouldn’t do. People here believe alms will credit them merits which are very important in Buddhism. A monk can earn merits through his meditation, chanting, praying and rituals. There is also another way for women to earn merits, they can cook and serve food to the monks. Whenever the monks pass by, the women pick a food out and put it randomly into the bowls of the monks, just make sure that you don’t overfill their bowls.
I can’t hide the eagerness on my face when I see a little monk pass by me. I pick a banana and put it into his bowl. He must be around 14 years old, he smiles and bows in front of me. It’s a magical moment for me in this mystical town. I have some pity for the monks however, as I see a group of tourists taking flash photography with their digital cameras everywhere the monks go. Imagine if you were a monk who felt like the paparazzi wouldn’t stop taking pictures of you. I feel for them and can appreciate their patience and how polite they are.
In Luang Prabang, you can’t miss the chance to visit all of the temples here. There isn’t any other place in the world like Luang Prabang with over 100 temples and monasteries and a population of only 25,000 people. The first must see temple is Wat Xieng Thong. “At the tip of the peninsula, Wat Xieng Thong was built in 1560, to remember King Chanthaphanith. Under the request of King Sisavangvong, the temple was restored in 1928 and once again in 1960. As I visit the temple, I touch the detailed mosaics on the doors and pillars. I am fascinated by the murals on the wall and I can feel that there is something very sacred and immaculate about this place. Seeing the harmonious structure, designs, lights and colors it’s no surprise that Wat Xieng Thong is considered the most beautiful temple in Laos.
My journey to Luang Prabang was one of culture and history and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there, I hope to come back soon and experience more, with so much to see here, I know I could spend a lot more time exploring the town and befriending its people.