Luang Prabang Local Customs

  • Boy monks.
    Boy monks.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Coconuts for milk shakes.
    Coconuts for milk shakes.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Hubbie tried Nam Khan but preferred beer lao.
    Hubbie tried Nam Khan but preferred beer...
    by IreneMcKay

Most Recent Local Customs in Luang Prabang

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    Local young girls selling family wares at market

    by thedouglas Updated Aug 8, 2006

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    Mother and child selling at the night market
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    When you go to visit the surrounding villages, you'll see a lot of the girls and ladies who sell at the night markets selling from their homes during the day. They work all day and night, as a family group, making and selling their handcrafts to the tourists.

    Many of the girls at the markets look too young to be mothers - but sure enough, when you seen them breastfeeding, you know that they are not just babysitting siblings etc! The babies must learn to be very patient, hanging around while their mothers work all day and night.

    There's not a lot of English spoken yet, as tourist is relatively fledgling in Laos - but smiles and purchases are quick way to make new friends!

    Notice the colour of the water the second bub has - and we get all bent out of shape to drink the bottled water!!!

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    Breakfast of Champions

    by sieffron Written Apr 6, 2006

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    Noodle bowl breakfast

    In Southeast Asia, natives don't start the day with a Pop Tart or a bagel, but instead have a bowl of noodles.
    Each region has a variation on its morning noodle bowls. In Luang Prabang, the breakfast noodle bowl includes chicken, beef, or pork, along with fresh raw veggies, and peppers. Some of the aspects of the noodle bowl that make it distinct are the addition of green Yanang leaves and the availability of jaew bawng, a thick condiment made from buffalo skin and chillies that spices things up.
    Noodle bowls are a great way to start the day, especially if your stomach not up for heavy bread-based food that is common for breakfast in the West. Still, if you prefer to stick to Western breakfasts, there are plenty of place in Luang Prabang to get your fix.

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    Boat Racing (Suang Heua)

    by sieffron Updated Mar 29, 2006

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    Boat racing practice on the Nam Khan River.

    A very popular extra-curricular activity for young Lao men and women is longtail boat racing. A river is never far away from a population center in Laos, and Luang Prabang has three of them in its vicinity. I saw various teams practicing their form on the Nam Khan and Nam Seung Rivers. The equivalent of a crew coxen stands at the back of the boat and blows loud, sharp shrills through a whistle to keep the rowers in time.
    The crews practice for the annual boat races of the Bun Nam (Water Festival), which is held in conjuction with the Bun Awk Phansaa (End of Rains Retreat) celebration in October. These races are held in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Savannakhet. The smaller towns hold their boat races on National Day, December 2, to minimize celebration costs as participation in National Day festivities is compulsory.
    One of the guides of my day-long hiking and kayaking trip related that it is a source of great pride to be a member of the local crew and that the team he was part of finished second in the annual races in Vientiane.
    Villagers are passionate about their local boat racing teams, often gathering by river banks to watch afternoon practices and cheer their team on.

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    Rattan Ball

    by sieffron Written Mar 28, 2006

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    Rattan ball in action.

    One of the most popular sports in Laos and Southeast Asia is rattan ball. It's played in a manner similar to volleyball, only the feet and head are used instead of hands. The ball itself is made from rattan, a solid timber vine that grows in jungles and woven together.
    Historians estimate that rattan ball has been played for at least 500 years, a good explanation for the adeptness with which many young Lao men compete.

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    Natural Resources

    by sieffron Written Mar 21, 2006

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    Collecting stones to sell for use in construction.

    My stay in Luang Prabang coincided with the conclusion of the rainy season. I didn't see a drop of rain during my two weeks in Laos and as a result, the water levels of the rivers were subsiding. During the time I spent in kayaks, paddling down rivers, I saw numerous instances where Lao men were shovelling piles of stones where the water had receded from the river banks. According to my guides, members of these groups of laborers would make about ten dollars per week after selling a truckload of stones, which is used for building.

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    Gastronomia- Gastronomy

    by elpariente Updated Feb 24, 2006

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    Para los amantes de la gastronomia hay un mercado a orillas del rio Mekong en el que se pueden ver cosas de lo mas curioso, desde frutas y verduras casi desconocidas hasta pitones , gusanos y todo tipo de pescados.
    Desde luego la comida es un tema cultural y de costumbres

    For the Gastronomy lovers There is a market in the river banks where you may see cery curious things , from fruits and vegetables nearly unknown for us , up to Piton , worms and all kind of fish
    In fact food is a cultural and habits issue

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    Alms

    by elpariente Updated Feb 24, 2006

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    Al amanecer salen los monjes de los templos y van por las calles de Luang Praban donde la gente les da lo que en ingles llaman "alm" , que consiste en darles arroz y alimentos que sera lo que coman los monjes ese dia

    At down the monks come out fo the temples and they go by Luang Prabang streets where the people gives them , what in English are called , "alm" , that is a present in rice and food that will be the monks meals during the day

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  • Monk morning parade

    by strollingfish Written Dec 2, 2005

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    It starts at 6 each morning when monks from various wats walk through streets collecting donations from faithfuls.

    Actually I'm kinda hesitate to write this recommendation here. I got deeply impressed by a travelling tv program few years ago when there were many faithfuls donating and this's what inspired my first thought of visiting Luang Prabang. But today the sacred activity appears more to be an object under a visitor's camera. With the feeling of being disrespectfuI I was ashamed of shooting when they pass by. A faithful woman I saw finally was sitting on her knees. When the monks passed in front she put food donations one by one in the begging bowls and worship after each donation.

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    License Plate

    by Animas Written Nov 29, 2005

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    There are many color of License Plate but you will usually see two colors
    WHITE for business vehicles and
    YELLOW for private vehicles.
    Some come with an expiration date on the bottom line means that plates are temporary.

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    Daily Offerings to Monks

    by trisanna Written Aug 19, 2005

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    Giving offerings to the monks, Luang Prabang

    In Laos and other Theravada Buddhist countries (Thailand and Cambodia) monks are not allowed to cook for themselves. They depend completely for their food from mostly local women, some men too.

    The monks and novices leave their temple before sunrise and start their procession around their own wat. Locals line up on the street with food for each monk. The monk opens his offering bowl and the women will put a few spoonfulls of food in it. Mostly what they get is rice and a little bit of meat or vegetables. The women will kneel on mats and not look at the monks, where the men will stand and can look at the monks.

    The first day we arrived in Luang Prabang we met a very friendly novice monk. We found the monks and novices very friendly here, probably more so here than anywhere else we have been. They are very approachable and eager to practice their English. The novice we met told us about this and invited us to join the devotees. We woke up early that morning and brought many packets of cookies, which we bought the day before. Also by the various routes, are walking vendors, who sell rice and other items for the monks. I sat down next to an older Lao woman, who tried to explain somethings in French and she helped me on how to give how the items to the monks. Even though i am not Buddhist or didn't grow up with any religion, I found this experience to be very moving. I highly recommend this to anyone.

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    Talk to the monks!

    by King_Golo Written Aug 8, 2005

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    Deep in Conversation - Chunthy and me

    Monks are the most common view in Luang Prabang - there orange monk's habits can be seen in every street at almost every time of the day.
    Most of the monks learn English and are more than happy to share their knowledge with you. For them, it's a great opportunity to get better English skills, for you, it's a great opportunity to learn about their life and traditions in the wats.

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    Spiritual Offerings

    by muddybok Updated May 18, 2005

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    Worship or Request?

    Just like any other Indochina countries, Laotians are mostly adopting Buddhism as a way of life. Offerings of foods, seeking peace, paying respect to idols are just the regular activities in Wats.


    Many of you may notice that I don’t quite like to describe Buddhism faith or taking pictures of idols. Instead I will pay more attention to architectural designs and landscaping of those Wats.

    1 Corinthians 8:4-6 (International Standard Version)

    4 Now concerning eating food offered to idols: We know that no idol is real in the world and that there is only one God. 5 For even if there are "gods" in heaven and on earth (as indeed there are many so-called "gods" and "lords"), 6 yet for us there is only one God, the Father, from whom everything came into being and for whom we live. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom everything came into being and through whom we live.

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    7 Heads Naga

    by muddybok Updated May 15, 2005

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    Naga

    My goodness! I never know that Mr. Naga is so famouns one oh!?

    Some may think that Naga is just a sidekick, but I would like to think that it is the sponsor or mastermind for the whole thing.


    Revelation 12:1-9 (NIV)

    1 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

    7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

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    Too many gods

    by muddybok Written May 14, 2005

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    Gods?

    Names of God ('Elohim, 'El, [`Elyon], Shadday, Yahweh; Theos):

    "God is a spiritual essence, intelligent, eternal, true, good, pure, just, merciful, most free and of infinite power and wisdom."

    Do we need so many of them? Isn't that One is powerful enough?

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    Monks

    by Blatherwick Written Apr 16, 2005

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    Monks in Luang Prabang

    Luang Prabang is a deeply spiritual place. The monks are out before sunrise to collect alms from devotees and those willing to help. Most locals prepare sticky rice. The monks receive an education and many of them can speak English quite well.

    You will find that the rules in Luang Prabang for monks are less stringent than you find in other places (like Thailand). For instance, there is no problem with monks conversing with females. I felt that this led to a greater openess and provided me with greater insight into the lives of Laotians in general

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Luang Prabang Local Customs

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