Day 4 - Vientiane Forest Temple Cycling (B,L)
This morning, you will meet up with your cycling guide at the hotel and start the day with an introduction and doing a trial ride around Fa Ngum Park and the Mekong Shore Boardwalk before setting off at approximately 08.30.
Today, we will be leaving the capital behind and ride towards lesser visited areas of Vientiane’s surroundings. The main highlights are Lunch on a Restaurant Boat on the Nam Ngum River and the chance of meeting Buddhist Monks at Forest Temple learning more about the religion and their daily practices.
Lao Buddhism is a unique version of Therevada Buddhism and is at the basis of Lao culture. Most of the young men in Laos spend time as a Monk or Novice at some point in their lives. During the retreat period they do not drink, smoke, eat after lunchtime, touch women, swear or have money or possessions. This period can vary from a few days to a few years.
Take the main archer of Vientiane, cycling by the Patuxay “Arc of Triumph” and That Luang, the most famous monument and omnipresent symbol of the Lao P.D.R. Do pay attention as this road can be crowded in certain times of the day.
Our first stop will be at the Don Mak Khai Market to buy fruits and snacks for the monks as a humble offering. This market is also famous for its diversity in insect food.
Be adventurous and have a bite!
Cycle North to the Nam Ngum River where we will board a restaurant boat at Thanong, a very popular place for locals during the weekend. Enjoy a 1-hour cruise upriver before getting back on the saddle.
Riding through rice paddies to the Vat pa Na Khoun Noi, one of Vientiane’s most revered meditation temple. When arrive inside the premises, make sure you are properly dressed, shoulders covered and respect the reigning quietness.
After discovering the site, religious buildings and meditation forest, your guide will advise you how present to the Head Monk the fruits and snacks you would have bought earlier this morning. Take time to meet with the monks and have a conversation. Now would be the perfect time to ask those questions you might have about a Buddhist monk’s daily life!
Before leaving, the monk will do a “Mat Khaen” (tie a cotton bracelet to your wrist) short ceremony, to protect you from bad spirits and providing you with good luck for your upcoming travels. Say goodbye and thank your hosts for their generosity before heading back off to the city.
Now we will take south, avoiding the more crowded Route 13, on smaller roads and go through the Faculty of Forestry of Dong Dok University Campus, the first University of Laos and still the biggest as of today.
Final stop today will be the Phaeng Mai Gallery. Phaeng Mai Gallery was created by two sisters from Samneua Province, a region reputed to have some of the best weavers of Laos, who learned by the age of 6 the art colors and patterns. Open since 1990, the Gallery offers a refined variety of naturally dyed silk and hand-woven pieces.
Cycle back Downtown to your hotel or to the Fa Ngum park behind the Presidential Palace. At approximately 16.00 you will finish, depending on your pace of travel.
Note: backup vehicle included today.
Distance and journey time:
Transfer from Airport to Hotel: 20 mins
Cycling distance up to 63 km
“An itinerary may at times be altered by our guides due to local conditions, the skill of participants and other unexpected circumstances. Our priority is always the experience and safety of our clients.”