No to imported alms
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No to imported alms

No to imported alms
Alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang. Photo: KARNJANA KARNJANATAWE

Imported snacks are banned from alms offering in Luang Prabang. Giving alms to monks is a popular activity for tourists when visiting the old capital listed as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

According to a report by The Laotian Times, the District Office of Laung Prabang has issued the regulations to control the quality of products sold to tourists for giving alms to monks.

Every morning in Luang Prabang, monks walk in a long row during the alms offering ceremony. By tradition, locals offer only glutinous rice to monks by taking a handful of the rice from a bamboo container and putting the chunk into a monk's bowl.

But some tourists, especially Thai people, like to offer other food in addition to sticky rice. To respond to more demand by the tourists, many vendors provide convenience goods such as packaged snacks and colourful sweet drinks from Thailand.

Aiming to preserve its tradition, the District Office of Laung Prabang prohibits vendors from selling imported snacks, with the exception of local desserts, to foreign tourists for alms offering as of today. Vendors must not sell khao lam as alms. Khao lam is made of sticky rice mixed with coconut cream and sugar and cooked in a bamboo tube.

Sticky rice offered by vendors must be of good quality and freshly cooked. Vendors must not sell leftover rice. The rice must be sold by weight and at permitted prices, starting from 1kg for 10,000 kip or about 40 baht.

Vendors violating the rules could face a ban from selling alms for at least six months to permanently.

New Friendship Bridge

The Transport Ministry plans to build the sixth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Ubon Ratchathani.

According to minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the possible site is at Ban Na Hin Ngon in Phalan, Na Tan district. The bridge will be built over the Mekong River to Ban La Khone Pheng in Salavan Province in the southern part of Laos. The distance will be 25.8km.

The Department of Highways will conduct a feasibility study and embark on public hearings before executing the plan.

The project is predicted to help speed up logistics services and further promote tourism between the two countries.

Currently, there are four Thai-Lao Friendship bridges linking Nong Khai-Vientiane, Mukdahan-Savannakhet, Nakhon Phanom-Khammouane and Chiang Khong-Huay Xay. A fifth bridge will be located in Bung Kan-Paksan. The project will cost 3.6 billion baht and will start the construction next year.

Airlines update

Thai AirAsia will launch a daily flight between Bangkok and Chumphon on March 25.

The flight will depart from Don Mueang Airport at 7.25am and will arrive at Chumphon airport at 8.35am. The return flight will depart from Chumphon at 9.10am and will arrive in Bangkok at 10.30am.

The airline is offering a promotion on a one-way ticket flight for 590 baht. The offer will end on Feb 4 and for travelling from March 25 to Jan 31 next year.

Chumphon will be the airline's ninth destination in the South in addition to Phuket, Hat Yai, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Trang, Ranong and Narathiwat.

The airline will also increase flight frequencies to the Northeast.

The two-daily flight between Bangkok and Ubon Ratchathani will increase to three. The airline will add another daily flight for Bangkok-Khon Kaen from five to six and for Bangkok-Buri Ram from one to two flights.

The Bangkok-Udon Thani flights will increase from four to five per day and Bangkok-Chiang Rai will have six flights per day from five by the middle of this month.


SilkAir, the regional airline of Singapore Airlines (SIA), will stop operating three international flights and will transfer the services to Scoot, the low-cost carrier of SIA.

The services are from Singapore to Langkawi in Malaysia, to Pekanbaru in Indonesia and Kalibo in the Philippines which will be operated by Scoot on April 8, May 30 and June 28 respectively. The airline currently flies three times a week to each destination.

Scoot already operates three and four weekly flights to Langkawi and Kalibo respectively. Pekanbaru will be its new destination.


Hotels update has launched the Refer-a-Friend programme.

It is a rewards programme for its members to recommend friends to book hotel rooms on the website in order to get a discount coupon worth 1,200 baht.

To join the programme, the members can either email the referral link of the Refer-a-Friend Program page to their friends or share it on Facebook. When their friends click on the shared link, they will automatically get the discount coupon which can be immediately used for their first booking.

After they complete their stay, the referrer will in turn receive the 1,200 baht discounted coupon.

The programme will last until March 11.


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