Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Luang Prabang Part II

Sunset in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is the best place in Lao for both tourists and locals to do business and relax. No wonder people call this the thousand pagoda city because pagodas are everywhere and you can see monks from early in the morning until the evening. The monks are dressed in a beautiful orange, carrying school bags and umbrellas, wow, I love looking at them all the time.


Lao monks in general have free education and they all go to school, they study all kinds of subjects from computers to english ... Monks in Luang Prabang speak good english, much better than in other parts of Lao, because they have lots of opportunities for practicing their english with tourists and they are very friendly here. Sometimes, in the evening you can see a monk using the internet or having a cigarette but I don't know if that's allowed or not.

Monk and mobile

One day, we went around and stopped at one of the pagodas and saw a monk playing with his mobile and he didn't seem to mind that he stood right in front of lots of tourists around and he seemed proud of his update technique. Does Buddha know about this? From what lots of people said, including some who used to be a monks, families want them to go to the pagoda because they can have a free education and food. After a few years, they leave and return to normal life. I think this is a good idea for whoever can't really afford to go to school, because going to school is not really free here in Asia but the fee is not really high.

Morning monks

I tried to wake up about 4am to see the monks praying but I couldn't make it that early but I woke up at 5.30am to take some shots of monks parading after chanting. They wander around the city to get food from the local people. Hundreds of monks walking in orange robes makes the early morning in Luang Prabang so colorful like thousands of butterflies are walking on the street. I couldn't believe that there were also about a hundred western tourists there before me, standing there waiting. If you want to contribute food to the monks, you can buy food from ladies who hang around there with baskets of food. It was a nice experience to start the day.

Tobe continued


Buddhist with an attitude said...

Hi there God, the Laotians have the same customs as the Thais (or I guess any other country practising Theravada Buddhism). Prior to the creation of state-run primary schools, village temples served as the primary form of education for boys. Service in a temple was a necessary prerequisite for attaining any higher education. Temporary ordination is the norm among Thai Buddhists. After a period of one to three years, most young monks return to lay life, going on to marry and begin a family. Young men in Thailand who have undergone ordination are seen as being more suitable partners for marriage; unordained men are euphamistacally called 'raw', while those who have been ordained are said to be 'cooked'. A period as a monk is a prerequisite for many positions of leadership within the village hierarchy (from Wikipedia).

black feline said...

wow! I have so much to catch up with u...welcome back!

alan said...

You keep taking me such beautiful places and teaching me so much...thank you!


chanchow said...

Wonderful! I think it is so interesting that most of Southeast Asia is influenced by India, with the exception of Vietnam, which was heavily influenced by China.

FooDcrazEE said...

looks like a great hols bro!

Tim Rice said...

Thanks for the education you keep providing via your blog. I learn many things that way. Great pictures!

Van Cong Tu said...

Buddhist with an attitude, yes, you are right but as lots of Lao people told me, Thai people dont really like Lao people.
chanchow, you are right.