This morning we were up bright and early at 5:15am for the alms giving ceremony. The ceremony is when all the monks in Luang Prabang leave the temples in the area and walk through the streets to collect offerings from locals (and some tourists) of food. We got up to observe the ceremony but not participate as we read different things about how tourists are disrespecting the ceremony, and we didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t correct, or would offend locals or the monks. It was a really neat thing to witness all the monks.
After we headed back to our hostel for free breakfast and then went out to walk to the pier to catch our boat we had rented for the day from our driver we had yesterday on our tour. The driver agreed to take us to the Pak Ou Caves which was about a 2 hour boat journey to get there. There are two caves when you arrive, an upper one and lower one. The lower one is filled with approximately 4,000 Buddhas and we were lucky enough to arrive before any other tourists. It was a really cool site to see the natural caves filled with all sorts of Buddhas of different shapes and sizes, some so ancient they were beginning to fall apart.
The upper cave took quite a few steps to get to and is unlit unlike the lower one. We had to whip out our phone flashlights to witness the over 2,000 Buddhas in this cave. Overall it was a great site to see, and although you only spend a short time in the caves for such a long journey, we found that it was worth it.
On our boat ride back our driver asked if we wanted to stop in a local village along the river which was the village they makethe local Lao Lao whiskey. Upon arriving we got to try two kinds of liquor they make there. First was their rice wine which was only 15% and kind of fruity, then the whiskey which was 50% and we couldn’t drink the half a shot they gave us. Definitely not our cup of tea!
We walked through the village a bit and observed the different local shops set up on the side of the road. Many selling silk scarfs which we watched them handmade.
Once we arrived back to the pier in Luang Prabang, we walked around the city a bit and visited some of the temples. There is a ridiculous amount of temples here, and although there’s many in every place we’ve been, Luang Prabang is such a small town, that we notice it a lot more.
We stopped for lunch at a random restaurant we found off the main street, and I had some curried noodle dish. After lunch we explored the national museum grounds a bit and headed back to our hostel for a much needed nap after being up so early.
Tonight we had dinner at a place that was recommended in Lonely Planet called Tamarind. It was a restaurant serving traditional foods. We got a couple sampling platters to sample a few of the local foods. It was delicious and the staff was very good at explaining to us everything on our plates!
Tomorrow we have some time in Luang Prabang before we head off to Hanoi, Vietnam!