Surprisingly, the endless stream of people didn’t bother me at all. My sight was fixated at the cone-shaped stupa piercing the sky. The afternoon light strikes its slab of gold layers making it shimmer magnificently under the sun. I am humbled by the towering presence of the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred, the most ancient and the 2nd oldest Buddhist pagoda not only in Burma but all over the world. Surrounding the main stupa are numerous mini stupas, shrines, pavilions and prayer halls that it’s easy to get lost on the platform on a hill and be overwhelmed by the many details.
Somewhere around a 100 meters more after Wat Chom Phet, still on a dirt road but covered by tall trees. Across it is the Wat Long Khun Temple. It is one of the best looking temple grounds I’ve seen. The monastery looks new and the main sim is petite but beautiful likewise. Across the river, I noticed its directly across Wat Xieng Thong.
Staying in a lodging in Th Sisavangvong Vatthana street, which is an inner street from the Main Street of Th Sisavangvong, I am close to a lot of temples within town. Take note that there are numerous temples in Luang Prabang, some of them have entrance fees and others are free so it’s wise to choose the important ones first. I first visited a couple of temples just a short walk from the lodging. The first one is a charming little temple and the other one is a school for artist monks.
Monks at Phnom Bakheng
Who said monks are restrained by their vow of silence and abstinence of worldy pleasures? I guess times have changed. Like our modern priest and nuns, monks are no longer confined to the walls of their convents or temples. They seem to be open nowadays to explore new things and the world around them.
Monks among the tourist
I found this group of monks who seems to be tourist as well when we were waiting for the sundown at Phnom Bakheng in Angkor Archaological park. I was amused to see them carrying some cool gadgets under their brightly colored robes. To think that another word for buddhist monks are Bikkhus which means beggars, these folks have money to afford gadgets as such.