Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Beware Tourist Scam Luang Prabang: alms ceremony

Posted by KMB on 27/2/2020 at 00:57

The pre-dawn alms ceremony has, sadly, become a tourist attraction, and so a target for a few local people to make as much money as they can. I read about the ceremony, wanted to observe it respectfully: from a discreet distance, dressed appropriately, no obnoxious filming/photographing -not participating obviously - it is A ceremony of meaning and ritual for Buddhists. I was on a quiet side street in front of my guesthouse. A Lao woman was pushing tourists to benches by the road-side, then she thrust baskets of sticky rice in their hands. There was no explanation or discussion of payment. She was quick to continue supplying baskets of rice as the tourists handed out rice to the passing monks. When they wanted to leave she would say “no no more coming, much more”. At the end she charge 20K kip per basket, an outrageous price for rice in Lao. Obviously if she wants to make money off of monks and an ancient Buddhist ritual, the bad karma is on her. But as a traveler I do not want to support it. Thought it was worth mentioning since the whole scene was confusing, (though so obvious in retrospect). I think also disturbing because I have just come from a month in Thailand - interactions with people were universally kind, gracious, polite, warm. I saw no aggressive selling and no tourist scamming anywhere, It’s taken me awhile to get adjusted to a less open culture in Lao - which is far far less aggressive than Vietnam!. But then, any culture (that I’ve experienced) is less open and warm relative to Thailand.

#1 KMB has been a member since 24/1/2020. Posts: 2


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