Sculpting Buddha – A Meditative Exercise in Laos

On a shady street on which we regularly strolled during our stay in Luang Prabang, Laos, we watched a sculptor as he gradually turned rustic concrete into the smooth likeness of Buddha. I wonder what the man pondered on those quiet afternoons — as he was overlooked by other Buddhist figures in progress — inContinue reading “Sculpting Buddha – A Meditative Exercise in Laos”

Photo du Jour: Golden Smiles in Luang Prabang, Laos

A pair of Buddha statues soak up golden-hour sunshine at Wat Xieng Thong. This shimmering and magnificent temple is located in the Laotian city of Luang Prabang. It dates back to the 16th century.

Photo Du Jour: Street Art For Sale in Luang Prabang

With vivid strokes and vibrant hues, artists depict Buddha, saffron-clad monks, and shimmering banyan trees on delicate paper. This artwork can be found in Luang Prabang’s night market, as well as at stands set up along the town’s brick sidewalks. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the paper as it’s being made, drying in theContinue reading “Photo Du Jour: Street Art For Sale in Luang Prabang”

Nagas, the Fire Serpents of the Mekong

Some Laotian and Thai people believe that serpent-like creatures (nagas) inhabit the chocolate-colored waters of the Mekong River. In Lao mythology, nagas protect Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, and beyond. These snake-like creatures also adorn many nooks and crannies of Laos’ jewel city, Luang Prabang. Some followers of Buddhism even attribute mysterious fireball-like projectiles to theContinue reading “Nagas, the Fire Serpents of the Mekong”

From Gong and Drum Awakening to Sunset at Luang Prabang’s Wat Wisunarat

Our home away from home in Luang Prabang, Laos sat opposite from the city’s oldest operating temple, Wat Wisunarat (also spelled Vat Visounnarath). The temple was built in the early 1500s. Known for its quiet lanes and thirty temples, Luang Prabang feels authentically Asian. Monks of all ages, clad in saffron-colored robes, pound the pavementContinue reading “From Gong and Drum Awakening to Sunset at Luang Prabang’s Wat Wisunarat”

Photo Du Jour: Quasi Cupid at Laos’ Buddha Park

It’s not your traditional Valentine’s Day imagery, yet these captures from our recent visit to Buddha Park — just outside of Vientiane, Laos — seemed so Cupid Day’esque.

A Morning Almsgiving or Tak Bat Ceremony in Phonsavan, Laos

In Laos, as in other countries that practice Theravada Buddhism, it is customary for monks to go on early morning alms runs, known as tak bat. They do so with alms-bowls in hand, donning their traditional saffron robes and pounding the pavement or dirt roads with bare feet. Devotees place food — such as balls ofContinue reading “A Morning Almsgiving or Tak Bat Ceremony in Phonsavan, Laos”

Photo du Jour: A Grassy Shrine and A Rainbow Tuktuk – Laos

A tuktuk sits on a hill overlooking grass-covered That Foun (also called That Chomsi). The brick stupa (Buddhist shrine) was built in 1576 in an ancient capital city, Xieng Khuang, in present-day Muang Khoun (northeastern Laos). In the 19th century, Chinese bandits tunnelled into the stupa’s interior, creating the entryway that is visible today. They spirited awayContinue reading “Photo du Jour: A Grassy Shrine and A Rainbow Tuktuk – Laos”