14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Sustainable Travel
Solemn alms giving ceremony by the majestic Temple Wat Mai, Luang Prabang, Laos

In Luang Prabang, there are over 33 Buddhist temples. At dawn, hundreds of monks leave their monasteries and walk the streets of this historic town to gather their daily nourishment. The act of offering alms to the monks has become a must-do activity, sadly transforming this sacred ritual into a tourist spectacle. Travelers must experience this solemn occasion with outmost respect, especially in regards to dressing modestly, keeping silence, maintaining proper distance, and being discrete when snapping their photographs. Disrespectful travelers can disrupt this traditional way of life. If the locals stop giving alms, the tradition will perish.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 10.2015
Date Uploaded: 06.2016
Photo Location: Luang Prabang, Laos
Camera: NIKON D7200
Copyright: © Flora Saperstein