Photo: Pak Ou caves.

Tak bat

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Each morning at around 06:00, hundreds of resident monks leave their wat and walk silently down the streets in single-file to collect food offerings from the local people.

Photo of Tak bat

The near endless parade of monks, each barefoot and saffron-robed, is truly a spectacular sight and this dawn ceremony has become an iconic image of Luang Prabang.

However, many tourists seem to forget that this is a genuine religious ceremony, not a cultural show for their enjoyment. Despite the vendors eager to sell you a basket of sticky rice so you too can feed the monks, only participate if it’s meaningful to you. If you choose to participate, buy sticky rice at the local market earlier that morning or make arrangements with your hotel/guesthouse to provide it. Ask staff to show you how it should be done as there is special etiquette. Alternatively, you can make a donation in private by dropping off food or packaged snacks to the temple later in the morning.

Otherwise, show respect and observe the ceremony in silence and from a distance.

Never put yourself into the column of monks to take a photo. Do not interrupt the procession or touch them. Turn off your flash.

Both men and women should dress and behave appropriately (for heaven’s sake, no kissing). Shoulders and knees should be covered.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Luang Prabang.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Luang Prabang.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Luang Prabang.
 Read up on how to get to Luang Prabang.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Luang Prabang? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Laos with Tourradar.

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