Finding Tranquility in Thailand: Exploring Sukhothai Historical Park

One of Thailand’s most popular ancient sites, Sukhothai boasts atmospheric temple ruins and UNESCO World Heritage status.

An Afternoon at Laos’ Buddha Park

Marry Buddhism, Hinduism and a touch of quirkiness, and the result is Buddha Park – a sprawling green space studded with more than 200 concrete sculptures near the Laotian capital city of Vientiane. Hopping out of a minivan shared with French and Swiss travelers we’d met at Vientiane’s bus station, we expressed relief that weContinue reading “An Afternoon at Laos’ Buddha Park”

Photo du Jour: A Novice Monk in Luang Prabang, Laos

In the Southeast Asian nation of Laos, it’s common for boys and young men to temporarily commit to monkhood, even if they do not remain in service for the rest of their lives. This custom brings a merit to both the novice monks and their families. As the elder monks do, the boys shave their headsContinue reading “Photo du Jour: A Novice Monk in Luang Prabang, Laos”

Photo du Jour: ‘Monk Beds’ in Luang Prabang, Laos

In Buddhism, it’s believed that followers can get good results by giving merit. One approach is by offering alms, either through a Tak Bat ceremony or by donating items to those who are leading a monastic lifestyle. In Luang Prabang’s Wat Xieng Thong temple courtyard, we happened upon this recently-donated stash of goods. There was everything fromContinue reading “Photo du Jour: ‘Monk Beds’ in Luang Prabang, Laos”

Wat Xieng Thong: Waiting in the Wings During the Golden Hour

It’s the sort of environment that could hold my attention for hours. In a heavily-carved and gilded structure that’s tucked away on the grounds of the Wat Xieng Thong temple complex in Luang Prabang, Laos, are stored a fleet of Buddha statues, crackling wooden devotional panels, nagas, and the Lao king’s cremation chariot. Adorned withContinue reading “Wat Xieng Thong: Waiting in the Wings During the Golden Hour”

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: 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 stands informally 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”

Vignettes From Phnom Penh’s Riverside

Carrying salmon and ivory-colored lotus blossom offerings, the Buddhist worshippers entered the crowded courtyard in front of a small temple along Phnom Penh’s riverside. Once inside, they left their spiritual contributions. The green, pink and white pile of offerings inside was apparently growing so vast that officials periodically tossed the decorated green coconuts and budsContinue reading “Vignettes From Phnom Penh’s Riverside”