Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Luang Prabang (Laos Part Three)

Luang Prabang is the spiritual heart of Laos. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. There are beautiful, ornate temples pretty much everywhere you look and the city is surrounded by mountains and tons of trees.
Our guide, See-pon, was a Buddhist monk for 16 years. Love him. He was the perfect person to take us around town and teach us everything about Lao culture and the Buddhist way of life.

Meditation room/temple made for one person at a time.
Nagas - means serpent. Outside of all the temples to protect them.
One night See-pon arranged for us to go to a local family's home for a su khwan ceremony (also called baci ceremony).  Su khwan is a Lao ritual where guardian spirits are bound to the guests of honor by tying white or orange strings around their wrists. They say it is best to do this before a long journey or before starting a new project. When the family ties the strings around your wrists, they wish you good luck, good health, safe travels, and all that good stuff. 
We loved the ceremony. It was so nice to do as we prepare to travel home and begin a new chapter.
The man in the center is a retired monk and conducted the ceremony.
They gave us the floral centerpiece to use as an offering.
So we gave it to this big Buddha.
 The last day we just rode bikes all over the city. Its such a beautiful town.
3 Nagas Hotel. Such a great place to stay and our favorite restaurant too.
Luang Prabang in the fog. Much better than sweltering sun!
We are SO sad to be leaving Laos. We will be back. This place is just good for the soul.