A 5.30 wake up call was required in order to walk into Luang Prabang to see hundreds of monks come out to receive there daily food donations. Rows and rows of people, both locals and tourists, lined the streets to give donations and also to witness this amazing sight.
We took our places down a side road and waited for the monks to appear. There were quite a few making there way towards us and I was very conscious not to intrude on this ceremony as I managed to take a few shoots, despite the dark.
It is all very humbling to see the monks of varying ages walking barefoot along the road to receive food and monetary donations and then to see them give back to those who need it. After we visited various streets and took different photos we headed to a small temple.
By now the sun had come up and we made our way back to the hotel for breakfast. Then we were off to the Elephant Sanctuary and neighbouring waterfalls. Laos means ‘One million elephants’ although they no longer have nearly that many due to the Vietnamese War, which also affected Laos quite seriously as it was thought many people were hiding in the jungle in Laos. The elephants either escaped into neighbouring countries such as Thailand, or were injured or killed in the war.
The sanctuary was quite small with only a few elephants and they seemed to be well looked after, although the younger ones were losely chained as they were likely to run off into the surrounding jungle. We were able to feed them, which was fun and I didn’t realise how loud they are when they eat, it was a proper slobbery chomping sound!
After feeding, we were given the option to ride them. I wasn’t wholly comfortable with that idea, so me and a few others just walked alongside them at a safe distance, which also meant we got to see them more up close and appreciate there grandeur and beauty.
Once they’d been walked around for half an hour we fed them some more and then made our way to the waterfalls, which also houses a bear sanctuary. Kuang Si Waterfalls was pretty large, but again full of tourists taking the opportunity to cool down in its clear waters. Me being the wuss I am just took in its beauty from dry land and rested in the shade.
The bear sanctuary, home to black bears was a bit poor, the Bears weren’t given a lot of space in my opinion and there wasn’t much information about them either, just seemed to be in a weird place and built as a revenue generator from tourists.
After spending a couple of hours at the waterfalls we headed back to the hotel. I wasn’t feeling up to the sunset that evening, and people had said they were disappointed with the views from the temple as it was really busy.
I did head out for dinner but didn’t stay long as I wanted to visit the night markets to pick up a few presents and didn’t want a late night as I’d had an early start that morning and also had one the next day, where we were spending 8 hours on a boat! That was an experience and you can hear all about it in the next post!
p.s since visiting the Sanctuary there have been many news reports around the death of a British man in Thailand whilst riding an elephant. I would like to think that a reputable company like Gadventures had taken us to a genuine elephant sanctuary who take good care of their animals and that our money went to a good cause, and I apologise if my article offends anyone, but I went on faith.