Photos: Luang Prabang, Laos
Peaceful, calm, serene – these might as well be synonyms for Luang Prabang one of the main cities in northern Laos. The beautiful city on the edge of the Mekong river sometimes seems to be composed of more Buddhist temples than anything else and monks seem to comprise the bulk of the population.
The quiet streets rarely get more busy than the morning alms ceremony that sees hundreds of monks appear from the Wats to silently collect donations of food from locals aiming to make merit. Once finished, the monks slip back to their temples and monasteries where they carry on with their work, study and prayer. They are, however, all too happy to put those endeavours aside to practice their language skills with passers by.
My time in Laos was dominated by such conversations. These brilliant boys and young men often waved me over and quickly started to showcase their knowledge of English and before I knew it, I had some new friends and got invited to teach an English class at one of the local schools. Their varied backgrounds were fascinating and their senses of humour kept me entertained for hours and I’m happy to say I still keep in touch with one of them who’s now on Facebook!
01. Hundreds of novice monks walk the streets early in the morning during the alms ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos.
02. A couple sits in front of the largest cascade at the Kuang Si Falls near Luang Prabang.
03. A young novice monk holds a parakeet in an alley in Luang Prabang, Laos.
04. Novice monks stand in line during their early-morning alms ceremony in Luang Prabang.
05. A novice Buddhist monk in Luang Prabang.
06. Golden Buddha statues inside Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, Laos.
07. Novice monks work in a garden in Luang Prabang, Laos.
08. A flowering water lily in Luang Prabang, Laos.
09. Buddha statues inside Wat Visoun in Luang Prabang.
10. Young novice monks in Luang Parbang.
11. A detail of a golden Buddhist figure carved on one of the doors of Wat Mai in Luang Prabang.
12. A novice monk studies a book in Luang Prabang, Laos.
13. A novice monk in Luang Prabang.
14. Discarded Buddha statues inside the Pak Ou caves near Luang Prabang.
15. Hundreds of novice monks walk the streets early in the morning during the alms ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos.
16. A girl admires one of the upper waterfalls at Kuang Si near Luang Prabang.
17. A novice monk in Luang Prabang.
18. Rivers cascade through the jungle at Kuang Si Falls.
19. A woman carries food past Wat Sen early in the morning in Luang Prabang.
20. Hundreds of novice monks walk the streets early in the morning during the alms ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos.
21. The ornate, golden carvings on the doors of Wat Xieng Thong in Luang, Prabang.
22. A novice monk plays with a cat in Luang Prabang.
23. Children smile for the camera at an elementary school in Luang Prabang, Laos.
24. Hundreds of novice monks walk the streets early in the morning during the alms ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos.
25. A boat sits on the edge of the Mekong river at sunset in Luang Prabang.
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