Our second morning in Luang Prabang began since 3 AM to get ready to join the traditional alms-giving with sticky rice that starts at 5.30 AM every morning, it was a Buddhist holy day on our visit (we were lucky) but in Thailand is the next day. We have a similar tradition, but we use regular rice instead of sticky rice. We walked along the street to the point that the monks will pass (as guided in the given map from the hotel). There was a lot of stalls that you can get the set of sticky rice and breast cloth to put across your shoulder (we were told that it is their tradition to have a breast cloth during this ceremony). But I recommend buying those sticky rice set from the morning market if you could walk in the early morning (it is a bit far from my accommodation). Our sticky rice has finished before 209 monks arrived, we decided to head back and have some sleep before breakfast.
Breakfast starts from 7.30 – 10.30 AM, we can order from the given menu, unlike many hotels that provide a buffet breakfast. We emptied our dishes quickly, and I offered an idea to have a chilly walk to a local coffee shop. We chose a small coffee shop not far from our guesthouse (less than 10 minutes by walk). The temperature was a bit cool but beautiful atmosphere. We touched the slow life environment of the living hood there, but also a lot of tourists. What makes this town attract people around the World? It could be nice weather, friendly people and the local tradition that remains until present. I would escape from a hectic life in Bangkok Metropolis where I was born and even Doha where I have been worked for a decade to such peaceful town here. If you are looking for a place to rest, where your answer is.
Time to cast off the coffee shop and start the first trip of the day. We walked up to the north to Mae Khong River and kept walking along the river until reached Wat Xieng Thong. The view along the river, we spotted a hotel boat, canvas paints sells and a lot of guided tours that annoyed me by kept following us for a while.
Fact: Wat Xieng Thong is a Buddhist temple on the northern tip of the peninsula of Luang Prabang, Laos. Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important of Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion and traditional art. (Wikipedia)
Information: The entry fee is KIP 20,000 (USD 2.34). The proper and polite attire required.
Not many tourists in the morning, we could walk around and get inside chapels and pray. There is a Buddha statute named Pra-Man which is kept inside the locked chapel and will be brought out only once a year on 21st April for the traditional holy ceremony in Luang Prabang. People are not allowed to get inside this chapel. I went inside a building where keeps various Buddha statues and the golden sculptured 7 heads of the king of Nagas that I guess it is used for Pra-Man ceremony.
We left the temple and used the different road heading to the national museum which is our next target. Unfortunately, it was closed when we arrived and will reopen again at 4 PM. So time to have lunch, we were told that the spicy papaya salad in Luang Prabang is a must. I followed the map that I got info from the internet where the recommended restaurant is, and again it was not open until evening. With no choice, we randomly pick a restaurant on the way back. We order spicy papaya salad, grilled chicken and juice. What surprised me is coconut juice, it is not juice, but they use coconut milk blended with ice, OMG. I felt eating a thick cream.
Papaya salad was not much impressed, it was too sweet, but grilled chicken was superb. The sweet-scent and savoury flavour of Laos coriander seasoned the chicken very well. We paid around USD 12 in total.
The national museum and royal palace schedule were shifted to the next day. We couldn’t do anything but tried to look up from outside.
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