Luang Prabang, the former capital of the Kingdom of Million Elephants – Laos, the world’s cultural heritage, peaceful destination for travelers. Once come to this place, everyone was looking forward to come back due to memorable time this spot may offer. Tak Bat or morning alm is a living Buddhist custom in Laos which has turned into a tourist spot on the must see/do checklist of Luang Prabang. It is such an excellent sight in reality. According to Buddhist belief, morning alms culture is characteristic of countries. Currently, it may be different from it was in the past, but always takes place before 12. It’s like to-do thing of people in Luang Phrabang as breathe.
Normally the monks in Luang Prabang wake up at 4 in the morning, enter the main temple for morning prayer before leaving for morning alms. These offerings are offered from people’s daily fare. They can be both savory and vegetarian items, except for the two animals are snakes and dogs. Snakes are sacred animals, always embodied in the architecture of temples and ritual objects in Buddhism, is decorated on the roof of the temple or stylized do Gutters in annual Buddha bathing ceremony. Dogs always been a close companion of the temple, they are not food. The image of a group of monks in orange robes has become a symbol of the ancient capital – Luang Prabang.
Today, many visitors come to Luang Phrabang also sincerely enjoy and participate in the ritual alms. They pay for a basket of food from people on the street and also wait for lines of monks going through, respectfully lay offerings into bowl and experience the moment of silence, peace of mind. Watching hundreds of monks and learners in orange costumes flowing from the temples will give you respectful feeling. The sight of the villagers is also impressive, for they dutifully rise every morning to cook sticky rice, kneel and give offering. Throughout the years, as an ever increasing number of explorers to Laos, the Buddhist tradition has transformed into something showy. The morning alms is a vital part of Lao culture and it’s superb that travelers are finding out about it, however it should be better if we approach it with deference and calmness. It would be ideal if you comply with the accompanying rules and spread the news to your trip companions.
The following information on the morning alms in Luang Prabang came from a pamphlet created and distributed by Department of Information, Culture and Tourism Luang Prabang; Lao Buddhist Fellowship Luang Prabang District; The Badur Foundation, London; The Buddhist Heritage Project, Luang Prabang; and the Amantaka Resort.
- Observe the ritual in silence and contribute an offering only if it is meaningful for you and can do so respectfully
- Please buy sticky rice at the local market earlier that morning rather than from street vendors along the monks route
- If you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance and behave respectfully. Do not get in the way of the monks’ procession or the believers offerings
- Do not stand too close to the monks when taking photographs; camera flashes are very disturbing for both monks and the lay people
- Dress appropriately: shoulder, chests and legs should be covered
- Do not make physical contact with the monks
- Large buses are forbidden within the Luang Prabang World Heritage Site and are extremely disturbing. Do not follow the procession on a bus – you will stand above the monks which in Laos is disrespectful
- Take part in the alms giving ceremony by protecting its dignity and its beauty.