I, too, got up early three or four times to see this. This is a genuine, communal activity, not to be treated as a tourist attraction, but with profound respect and with a quiet mind. Consider leaving your cameras at home all together, find your spot, and if you can, sit very still and quiet and just watch. If you do bring your camera, make absolutely sure that the flash is OFF. And still stand back and give space. You are not important in this moment - and you could try just remembering it when you get home. Do I feel strongly about this? You bet I do!
I loved it and it made me realise how interconnected the monks and the local community is. I decided not to get sticky rice (if you do, you should get it before the ceremony, but on the same day, from the market, not from any lurking vendor, to ensure it is fresh).
There are places in Luang Prabang that is not overrun with tourist flashing their cameras. Our place was one such - but I am not saying where, just to leave the monks and the community in peace.
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