Luang Prabang 2017 - Morning Alms Giving

One thing that has become a bit controversial, but is also one of the most popular tourist attractions,  is the alms giving ceremony – Tak Bat. Not so much the ceremony itself which is a longstanding local tradition, but tourist behaviours while observing the ritual.

Every morning around 5.30a.m. Buddhist monks in saffron robes come out to receive offerings. Devotees kneel along the street offering food such as sticky rice and other carefully prepared items for the sustenance of the monks. This is a beautiful and serious ritual with great cultural significance, and observers should be respectful, keep total silence and not get in the way of the monks.

There are guidelines on how to behave when observing the ritual, however, many tourists seem to be either ignorant or don’t care – like getting in the way of the monks to get a shot, and using flashlights which is a big no no. The monks don’t seem to be bothered by all the commotion – but it is still sad to see such disrespectful behaviour. It is without a doubt a very beautiful ceremony, and every visitor to Luang Prabang should get a chance to witness it, but try to find a quieter spot and please do observe all the guidelines.


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