Small group & tailor-made Thailand tours 0845 130 48 49

In this section...

Currency converter

Change the prices displayed on
the site with the click of a mouse

Tour finder

Luang Prabang, Laos

Monks queuing for alms in Luang Prabang, Laos
Above: Monks queuing for alms in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is now a UNESCO World Heritage city, but also a small Laos town trying desperately to hold onto its traditional culture within a developing region. One aspect of local culture that tourists can visit and take part in, is the early morning alms giving ceremony.

Each morning, as the sunrises, 200 or so Buddhist monks will descend from the 33 local Wats (temples) to collect their daily alms.

This is an age old tradition that dates back to the 14th century when this tradition was introduced, and involves the local people rising early, preparing food and making offerings to the monks.

Not only is this one of the ways for Buddhists to make merits, it is also the only food that the monks are permitted to eat for the day and is therefore a very important ritual.

Tourists are currently welcome to be involved in the Alms Giving Ceremony, although we ask our travellers to please be aware of the routine of this ritual and to respect the closely observed etiquette.

Some points to be aware of are:

  • Wear appropriate clothing – Keep your shoulders, chest and legs covered as a sign of respect. If in doubt, dress like a local as you will rarely see a Buddhist with exposed skin.
  • Do not touch or get to close to the monks and do not interrupt the procession.
  • Take photos from a distance and do not use a flash.
  • Take your shoes & socks off and kneel with your feet under you and pointed away from other people.
  • Observe the ceremony in silence.
  • Women should not talk to monks directly and should have their head lower than the monks when offering.
  • Obtain safe offerings – If you wish to participate in this ceremony, it is best to prepare the food or fruit yourself.

Please be advised that local merchants use this ceremony as a way of making money. There have been problems with tourists buying food from these merchants that is unfit for consumption and has lead to some of the monks becoming ill. Some hotels will provide simple sticky rice for tourists to take to the ceremony which is acceptable – please ask your guide for advice and assistance with this.

Laos is a spiritual country and some people do feel compelled and interested to get involved in this ceremony as a way of experiencing the local culture. However, it is important to remember that this is a local tradition and not a tourist activity. Be respectful and enjoy the spiritual side of this peaceful ceremony and your presence there can then be beneficial to both sides.

Highlighted tours...

View more tours like these
View on the old town of Hoi An, Vietnam

Classic Vietnam


From UK£0 per person

Halong Bay near Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam & Cambodia...

Vietnam and Cambodia

From UK£0 per person


News & features

Boat diving

Short guide about the pros and cons of boat diving.

Round the world flights

Short guide to finding the best round the world flight.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Largest city in the north of Thailand and ideal base for jungle trekking, rafting and other adventure activities.

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Chiang Rai is an excellent base from which to explore the Golden Triangle - Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.

Boat diving

Short guide about the pros and cons of boat diving.

PADI diving courses

Detailed look at the various courses offered by PADI.

View more news & features

Customer feedback

"A++, everything was perfect and we are still blinded by all the luxury at he Lebua hotel."

Katja Topfer (Thailand tailor-made)

Read more feedback


Signup to our newsletter

Our offers, straight to your inbox

  • Atol Logo
  • TTA Logo
  • TTA Logo

Thailand Uncovered, Head office: Leigh House, Varley Steet, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 6AN

Phone: +44 (0) 845 130 48 49 Fax: +44 (0) 845 130 48 84

Office Hours: Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00, Sat 09:30-12:30. Registered in the UK: 7560987

Copyright © 2019 Uncover the World TravelLtd.