The daily dawn procession of monks through the streets of the old city has become one of the quintessential images of Luang Prabang and is one of its biggest tourist “attractions”. As a result, however, it can feel a little zoo-like, as tourists line up to watch the monks pass, cameras madly clicking to get the best shot.
There’s no denying the serene beauty of the alms-giving ceremony (Tak Bat) as kneeled locals place sticky rice into the baskets of the passing saffron-robed monks. However, if you do wish to see it, it’s important to behave properly – in particular, dress appropriately and modestly, don’t make physical contact with the monks, and keep a respectful distance from them. It is possible to join the alms-giving, but locals request that you only do so if it would be meaningful to you. If you do so, buy sticky rice from the morning market beforehand rather than the street vendors that congregate along Sisavangvong Road as the rice can be of dubious quality.