Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony

Before sunrise in Luang Prabang, hundreds of Buddhist monks wake to the sound of the temple drums and leave to gather their daily meal. The Alms Giving Ceremony, or Tak Bat, dates back to the 14th century.  It is a longstanding Laos Buddhist tradition and sacred.

Local residents rise early to prepare food for the monks, mainly sticky rice. They then sit patiently on the roadside to give their offering to the monks in their alms bowls.

You can watch this ancient daily tradition on the Sakkarin Road in the city. Some websites say tourists can take part, however, you read & hear some awful stories of etiquette not being followed. Personally, I feel this tradition should be left to the locals and enjoyed at a distance by tourists.

There are many signs in the city explaining the appropriate etiquette to be followed.  Please check out the do’s and don’t before you attend.  Some examples are;

  • watch at a distance and in silence
  • do not use flash photography
  • dress modestly
  • don’t follow the procession
  • arrive before it starts.
I was lucky enough to be told about a quieter area (Old Bridge Road) to watch the ceremony take place and be at the beautiful Wat Pak Khan to witness the young monks practice their drumming.  They look like they are having fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *