In our 3 years of traveling we’ve never purposely worken early to participate in giving alms to the monks. We’ve only ever witnessed the alms process by accident or ignorance.
We have thought about participating but honestly, it’s never been a big thing on our list of to do’s for some reason.
Our ignorance is the main reason. We just didn’t know the process, what to give, how to go about it and if we would be intruding on the entire process.
Sure, we’ve looked up stuff about it online but not very seriously.
So, the morning we were set to leave Luang Prabang, Laos, it was early. Like the 5:45 am kind of early.
I had to go to the bakery to get some bread for our 2 Day Slow Boat trip to Thailand.
This awesome little bakery on the walking street was supposed to open at 6am and have out fresh baked breads.
As I’m walking up the alleyway I see locals sitting in the street on short stools with pots of rice…alms for the monks.
They usually already have a bag of fruits and vegetables along with their hot pot to collect their rise offerings. This is what feeds the monks for the entire day, every day.
I was like – Damnit! Honestly. We keep missing the opportunity to participate. I didn’t have time this morning to stand by, not participate.
I walked up the street and passed Monks walking. One woman stopped me and asked if I wanted to sit on the stool next to her and use her extra pot to offer alms.
I felt like such a jerk. She didn’t speak English, nor I Laos, so I only managed to thank her and express that I had to go somewhere.
I get to the bakery a couple streets up and I see at street loaded with Monks walking and the streets lined with chairs.
What I didn’t expect were all the tourists watching or taking photos but not participating.
Did they not get the same offer I received?
Did they just want to witness but not participate?
Did they stumble across this daily ritual as we normally do?
If I had the time thst morning I would’ve loved to participate.
At the bakery, the still weren’t open until 6:15 am. I could’ve participates but now I’m just standing around like the other tourists taking photos.
I think it’s amazing that every town with a Wat (there were about 6 of them in Luang Prabang) has all it’s villagers out early each morning to offer alms to the Monks.
One day we will make a point of planning, having a bowl of sticky rice to offer and perhaps a bunch of fruit or something.
For now though…I was like all the other tourists…taking photos and not participating.