The alms giving to the monks. It’s a complicated matter as it is something so different that it of course attracts tourists and travelers to watch, but then there are always those who disgrace the sanctity of it all. We knew the rules. Stay well away and stay quiet. If you must take pictures take them from far away. At this point in my travels I had upgraded my camera, so you can actually tell what’s happening in the pictures that are in fact taken from a distance, but sadly I have pictures of people with massive camera installations in front of the monks faces as well.
Before traveling to Laos I had been to other Southeast Asian countries that don’t have big rules for the way to dress etc. Already while packing for the trip to Laos I knew to take long pants and other conservative hot weather clothing. These things didn’t come as a surprise, so while watching the alms giving we did our very best to be discrete and respectful.
It was magical. The silence and the deep concentration of the locals while giving portions of sticky rice to the monks. Beautiful experience. I just know that even our presence is frowned upon, because of those few who feel it is their right to break the rules for the sake of a picture. Of course it has also it’s business making side. Locals sell rice and little boxes (second picture) and cushions or mats for tourists wanting to participate. But as I said, it is a complicated matter as I feel it is an amazing experience.