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Max Yu

Travelled to 9 countries / regions

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Solo trip to LP in December 2017

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Asia > Laos > Luang Prabang > Useful Info
Submitted on Jul 09, 2018 Useful Info

How to participate in the morning alms-giving ceremony (Sai Bat) in Luang Prabang

  • One of the highlights of luang prabang
  • Go there early. I went around 520am. In the summer I believe the ceremony starts even earlier. There's no "official" start to the ceremony. The monks just started showing up close to 6am in a single file
  • The ceremony takes place on the main road in Luang Prabang, called Sisavangvong Road. The stretch of the road close to Wat Mai was crowded. The further northeast you go the less crowded it will be:
  • You don't need to prepare much before going. Just wear the kind of clothing you would to go to a temple (no shorts, cover your shoulders, etc.) and bring some cash to buy the alms to give
  • There will be a lot of vendors selling you the alms (like rice and snacks) for around 20,000 kip ($3) that you can give to the monks. Another option is to buy them the day before from the market but I didn't have time to do that
  • Once you get there, just sit down on one of the plastic stools lining on the side of the road and wait for the monks to show up. You don't need to kneel or anything like that
  • When the monks show up, just drop a small chunk of the rice from your basket to the monk's basket. You don't need to say anything or do anything beyond that
  • Whenever you're done, you can just leave
  • Some things to keep in mind
  • I was told not to make eye contact with the monk
  • It's fine to take photos, but don't use flash or hold up the procession
  • Above all, don't engage in anyway with the monks or interrupt the ceremony