UNESCO World Heritage site of old town Luang Prabang!
The alms-giving ceremony is one of the most significant aspects of my time here. Early morning 5+am the locals start preparing food offerings for the monks, and can be seen along the streets.
The influence of tourism is highly apparent. (hmm, geog fieldtrip? it’s such an observable impact……)
When we went to the street, locals approached us asking us to buy the sticky rice and offerings for the monks. I had read about it, but I was surprised to see how many ‘stalls’ they were lined along the street. Maybe it’s not all for selling to tourists, but I was nonetheless surprised to see just how many tourists there were. (though i guess i shouldn’t be that surprised, it’s one of the top things on tripadvisor to do)
Tour groups with tour guides brought their tourists here as well. I took this picture, which seemed like a tour guide explaining to the tourists what they should do later when the monks come, and how to present their offerings. Some tourists take picture of each other with their food offerings.
It’s not a bad thing, cultural immersion in local customs. It’s good I suppose, expanding their cultural understandings. Yet I wondered how the monks felt, with these cameras waiting to take their pictures as they had their food offerings. The scene felt a little… commoditized, ‘staged authenticity’
Were they annoyed at the tourists? Or pleased because there’s more food offerings now (presumably)? Both
It would be interesting to speak to one of them, but of course i had no such chances
there were also other monks (in robes of other colours) who excitedly took photos of each other during the food offering, and i saw one requesting for a photo with the monk. it’s cute to see, well, monks holding their smartphones taking pictures. (cause of my stereotype of monks i suppose)
also interesting that monks from (presumably other countries?) coming to see this scene too.
wet and dry season