Mekong Meditation in Luang Prabang
Wandering around the beautiful temples of Laos often inspires a yearning to learn more - about the philosophy of Theravada Buddhism, and how to achieve the meditative state that forms such a key aspect of its spiritual path. On this unusual boat trip, you'll find yourself meditating to the soft sway of the Mekong - pausing to find focus within the temples dotted along its banks - and enjoying a unique perspective on the mindfulness at the centre of Lao Buddhism.
What to expect on the meditation cruise...
If you're at all interested in Buddhist tradition, this meditation cruise - which combines history, tradition, spiritual theory and mindful practice - will give you a clearer understanding of the distinctive peace and purposefulness that infuses Lao culture.
Heading down to the jetty straight after breakfast, you and up to three others will board the Belmond La Residence Phou Vao’s private boat to begin your day on the river. Breathe in the cool morning air before the heat of the day kicks in; any lingering rain-clouds will soon give way to the bright blue skies of a sunny Lao day.
Drifting along the Mekong, you’ll be led through a series of meditations by a trained instructor, and receive guidance from a former Buddhist monk. Both will enrich your practice with their knowledge and experience. Each stage of the meditation is introduced gently, at an appropriate pace.
You’ll learn different breathing techniques and chants, which allow you to achieve an alert state of mind without becoming side-tracked by conscious thought. You'll probably find yourself intrigued by the sounds, scents and sights around you, especially if you are a beginner, but that’s completely normal (and totally understandable!). Your instructor will gently help you refocus as you continue to improve your meditative ability.
En route, you’ll pause at a variety of temples and other locations to meditate in new surroundings. Soak up the serenity at the Pak Ou caves, a sacred site filled with images of Buddha, and spend time in the evocative Muang Kham Monastery, Wat Kok Pha and Wat Hatshiew.
Each stop adds an extra dimension to your practice, and you’ll be able to try different approaches, including a typical Lao walking meditation said to facilitate a higher level of concentration, build stamina and re-invigorate the senses.
When resting between sessions, there will be time to chat with your instructor and guide, who can offer further tuition and answer any questions. Enjoy a picnic lunch on a quiet sandbank in the middle of the river, where you can digest the techniques and information you’ve gained along, with some delicious Lao dishes!
At the end of the experience, you’ll have the best kind of souvenirs: new knowledge and increased skill (and an audio guide reminder to assist your meditations once you return home!).
Location: Luang Prabang
Duration: Full day
Accommodation: Your choice of accommodation in Luang Prabang
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'This meditation experience, the first of its kind in Laos, really puts the temples in context and helps bring Buddhist theory to life'
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Sessions can be tailored to suit your experience and practice, but an openness to meditation will help you get the most out of this trip!