Alms Ceremony - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Alms Ceremony

Alms Ceremony

The main attraction in Luang Prabang is the morning Alms Ceremony. Male Laotians from across the country come to Luang Prabang to study Buddhism for at least a year at some point in their life. As such the city is teeming with men and boys dressed in their saffron-coloured robes. Every morning before sunrise the monks proceed through the village along the main street collecting alms for their consumption for the day ahead. This ancient and ritualised ceremony is a sight to behold and a great photo opportunity for those willing to wake up before dawn to go out and see it. Tourists are able to buy rice and foods to give to the monks. Be sure to buy fresh food as there have been scams in the past where market vendors sell old or stale leftovers to naïve tourists. Remember the ceremony is a serious and holy event so be respectful at all times, particularly if you are taking pictures. Women should dress conservatively and know that it is considered extremely rude for a woman to come into physical contact with a monk.

Information & Facts

Along the main street in Luang Prabang.
Lao is the official language, but some English and French are spoken.

The Lao Kip (LAK) is the legal currency unit, currently available in denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 kip. US Dollars, Euros and Thai Baht are also accepted in many places and are more convenient to carry than large stacks of the local currency. Banks, hotels, and jewellery shops all offer currency exchange services. For everyday expenses, carry a mix of US dollars and kip. For larger items, or when the exchange rate works in your favour, use US dollars. For local transport, street food stalls and minor purchases, it is best to use kip. When in rural areas, ensure you carry a supply of small notes as change can be hard to come by. Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most international hotels, many shops and restaurants, and a few tourist-orientated establishments in Luang Prabang and Vientiane - but in other parts of the country assume that only cash is accepted. Travellers cheques can be cashed at most banks in Vientiane and other major towns. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 12pm, and then again from 2pm to 3pm. In Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and other major towns, ATMs are available from which money can be withdrawn. Note that ATMs distribute only Lao kip, with a maximum of around 1,000,000 kip per transaction.

Opening Times
The ceremony starts before sunrise every morning.
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