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More Postcards from Luang Prabang

February 2, 2011

My trip to South East Asia is nearly over and soon I will be back in London. Luang Prabang, the former royal capital of Laos, has definitely been the highlight. I’m very sad to say goodbye to this beautiful place, but I’m definitely planning to come back and see more of Laos.

Luang Prabang is a photographer’s dream. There are so many wonderful sights to capture. But one of the things I will always remember about this place, is the friendliness and warmth of its people. I had some amazing times, wondering the streets of the town, meeting and chatting to strangers who were only too happy to be photographed.

One of the iconic images of Luang Prabang is the morning ritual of the tak bat, when the town’s monks walk down the main street to receive donations of food. I tried very hard to find a monk whose English was good enough to interview about this ancient religious ceremony. My first attempt ended in disaster when the young 19 year old monk I spoke to asked me to delete the interview because he did not want it published on the internet. At the very end of my trip, I managed to find a monk who was happy to talk about the tak bat, thanks to the help of Loon, the manager at the Apsara, the lovely hotel I stayed at in Luang Prabang. The interview was with Phra Sombath Sompanno from Wat Nong Sikhounmuang. Sombath is the monk in the front of the line in the picture below. When I am back in London, I’m hoping to use the interview to put together and audio slideshow for the BBC. Thank you Sombath and Loon for saving the day. I’m eternally grateful.

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