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Yoga and Meditation in the Tranquility of Laos with Adrianne Vincent

 

Jan. 6-19,  2014

Laos is a country permeated by the ancient spirit of  Buddhism. This manifests in the gentle, peaceful demeanor of the populace, the large monastic community and the beautiful temples. Most Laotians consider themselves Buddhist and every man is expected to spend at least part of his life as a novice in a Wat (temple). Many stay for longer periods, and reenter several times during their lives. Temples also educate, feed and house any poor boys and young men who wish to enter as a novice, and are
therefore popular and populated. 

Every morning around 6:00 monks and novices begin a walk around town from their respective temples, alms bowls swinging open to receive sticky rice, money, and whatever the local people have cooked for them. The completely silent procession of saffron robes, with locals on the sidewalk giving
alms is breathtaking. We will join in this ancient sacred ritual that dates back to the time of the Buddha. We will also participate in morning meditation and afternoon chanting at various temples.

Laos is a landlocked country a quarter of the size of its neighbor, Vietnam, but sharing much of its history. It has a beautiful lush landscape, with numerous mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Sparsely
populated and heavily forested, the northern, mountainous area hosts farming communities of indigenous hill tribes, who also maintain homes along the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Laos is also known for its delicious and fresh food and unique arts and crafts, including woven goods, paper
making and silver jewelry. A developing country who only recently opened to tourism, it has the dubious distinction of being the most heavily bombed country in the world from the Vietnam war. 

Our first stop will be to the sleepy capitol city of Vientiane, with wide, pleasant boulevards dotted with decaying French colonial mansions. It is the home of many wats including Wat Sok Pa Luang which offers Vipassana instruction, herbal steam baths and massage. We will also visit the lively marketplace and view performances of traditional dance and music.Our next stop, just a short flight from Vientiane, is the smaller town of Luang Prabang. Arguably the most beautiful town in Southeast Asia, Luang Prabang has such an abundance of architectural treasures that the entire town has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is where we will spend the majority of our journey. Luang Prabang sits in the mountains in the north, is framed by two rivers, and hosts thirty-two temples and a
correspondingly large monastic population. During our stay in this unique locale, we will explore the stunning architecture with local guides, visit the old palace and museums, meet local artists and craftspeople, and tour the vast array of tranquil temples. 

We will also explore the countryside, enjoying a beautiful short trek to the gorgeous Kuangsi waterfall, visit local villages, and take an idyllic  excursion by boat up the Mekong river to the Pak Ou Cave, housing thousands of Buddha's brought by devotees. We will kayak to the nearby Elephant Rehabilitation Camp and take a ride, enjoy a class in making traditional food, and visit some local Hill tribes.

Throughout this trip Vipassana teacher Adrianne Vincent will offer meditation instruction, lead Yoga and meditation sessions, and discuss Buddhist philosophy.  We will also hear teachings from local senior monks or nuns. We will learn to integrate Buddhist approaches and perspectives to bring greater depth, ease and openness while traveling together as a community. Experienced meditators and Yoga pracitiioners as well as beginners are welcomed to join this journey.

Whenever possible, we will either meditate at a local wat or Adrianne will lead an early morning session of silent meditation with short teachings and discussion. We will also join the monks and novices in their chanting practice in the afternoons and have opportunities to meet novice monks who
enjoy practicing their English with Westerners.  Many of our visits will be to support local NGO’s and service projects, like our visit  and donation to the Cooperative Orthonic and Prosthetic Visitors Center (a programs for prosthetic limbs for Laotians with missing limbs, many due to explosives leftover from Vietnam War). This will allow us to practice“dana”, the Pali word for generosity, by giving something back to the Laotian people.


 

Itinerary: Jan. 6-19. 2014

Day 1: Sun. Jan. 5: Arrive at airport to check in 1 1/2 to 2 hours prior to departure.

Day 2: Mon. Jan. 6: Transit Depart after midnight aboard Eva Airways for Tai  Pei.

Day 3: Tues. Jan. 7: Tai Pei/Bangkok/Vientiane (B,L,D) You arrive in  Tai Pei and make a transfer for your flight to Vientiane, Laos. You  apply for entry visa upon arrival and meet your Laotian local guide,  and are
transferred to our Hotel. In the evening we visit a  famed local restaurant that features Laotian specialties and a folk dance performance.

Day 4: Wed. Jan. 8: Vientiane (B) Breakfast, morning meditation  and discussion at hotel. After breakfast begin our day in our  private bus with a guided tour of the National Museum for an  overview of Laotian
history. Then  we visit Wat Sisaket--the house  of thousands of  graceful Buddha images, and  Wat Pakeo, the original home of the revered Emerald Buddha. In the afternoon we  visit Wat Sok Pa Luang temple,  famed for instruction in Vipassana  meditation. A forest temple, well-known for its herb garden, and their herbal steam bath, perfumed by  thirty two medicinal herbs  that  soak the skin as they waft through the wooden floor. Afterward  we will enjoy a cup of herbal tea in the simple, open-air pavilion. Afterward, a talk with a  resident monk  who will lead us in a walking meditation through the garden.

Day 5: Thur. Jan. 9: Vientiane (B) Breakfast, morning meditation and  short discussion at hotel. Today we visit  the Pra Thatluang stupa,  where the the relic of Lord Buddha is kept, and then on to the  colorful market with a wide array of woven silk textiles. Continue  to the Les Artisans Laos center and school in Vientiane to see the trainees learning and working, and invite you to support them by  purchasing their crafts. Our final visit is to the Cooperative  Orthonic and Prosthetic Visitors Center to review their programs  creating prosthetic limbs for Laotians with missing limbs, mainly  due to US cluster bombs from the Vietnam war. Group dinner at the  Makphet training restaurant for street children,

Day 6: Fri. Jan. 10: Vientiane/ Luang Prabang (B) Morning meditation  at hotel. Depart for a flight to Luang Prabang,  A beautiful French- Colonial style World Heritage town registered by UNESCO. Check into  our Guest House in the ancient capital of the Lao Kingdom,  beautifully situated between two rivers, and surrounded by forest enshrined hills. Here time appears to have stood still, giving the  visitor an vision of the old Asia. After checking into your guest  house, we will take a walking tour through the historic neighborhood in which you will be spending your next 8 nights. Finally  we  conclude on the Mekong River, visiting the Wat Xieng Thong, built by  the local king in 1560 and considered the most beautiful and  important in Luang Prabang. Join the local monks and novices in  their late afternoon chanting in the Wat. Evening meal of local specialties.

Day 7: Sat. Jan. 11: Luang Prabang (B) At dawn we will offer food to  the many monks who file down our street each day, outside our  guesthouse with their begging bowls in the daily sacred ceremony of  alms-giving. You are invited to offers alms to the monks on other  mornings as well. Transfer by local vehical to our first Yoga class, overlooking the Nam Khan River. 
Tour of  several  important local temples: Wat Visoun, a temple for the Vietnamese migrants, and Wat  Ahman, where giant puppets representing the ancestors of the local people (Grandmother and Grandfather) are stored. In the afternoon we enjoy a meeting with  the Abbot of Wat Nong and hear about its history, and then begin our regular afternoon chanting at Wat Nong, which will become our regular “meditation hall” during our visit. Then we have our own gathering to discuss our impressions. Evening dinner at the Night Market.

Day 8: Sun. Jan. 12: Luang Prabang (B)
Breakfast followed by  meditation at Wat Nong and short discussion at guest house. Then a  visit to the morning market to view the local produce and other  exotic items, followed by a visit to  the National Museum housed in  the former Royal Palace. The collection of former  sovereign  artifacts and treasures reflect the richness of the Lao throne from  the early Kings to last sovereign. Across from the palace, we scale  the holy Phousi mountain, climbing 238 steps,
and providing an  overview of Luang Prabang town and visiting the stupa at the top.  
After wards we will have  lunch at a charming cafe overlooking the  Nam Khan River. Afternoon free to explore Luang Prabang or have a spa treatment, and then back to our local Wat to participate in afternoon
chants. In the evening, visit the night market with a  chance to sample local cuisine.

Day 9 Mon. Jan. 13:  Luang Prabang (B,L) Breakfast followed by morning meditation at Wat Nong and short discussion at guest house. Then, a  fun, educational and supportive visit to the local Elephant Camp,  established as an NGO in 2003 to offer a retirement community for retired elephants from the logging industry. We take a leisurely  kayak ride down the river, viewing stunning scenery, and concluding at the Camp, where we take an elephant trail ride to  the Tad Sae  waterfall and have a picnic lunch, and meet with a Camp official to hear about their work. Arrive back in Luang Prabang  in the afternoon in time to chat with some of the neighboring novices about  their lives inside a monastery. Adjourn to Vat Nong for chanting.

Day 10 Tues. Jan. 14 Luang Prabang (B) Transfer for morning Yoga, then return to hotel for breakfast followed by morning  meditation at Wat Nong and short discussion at guest house. Excursion to visit  the Akha Hill tribe  people and  an ethnic Hunan village of weavers, and then a local pottery village. Afternoon return to  Luang Prabang for lunch, free time, and further meetings with  novices to hear about their lives. Evening performance of  traditional dance and music at the Palace.

Day 11 Wed. Jan. 15: Luang Prabang (B, L)
Breakfast followed by  morning meditation at Wat Nong and short discussion at guest house. This morning we gather at  for a fun and fascinating cooking  workshop in the history of local delicacies with fresh ingredients, while learning to prepare local delicacies. We work our way through   several courses, culminating with a group lunch. Free time or time for meetings with novices to hear about their lives. Afternoon chanting at our local Wat.

Day 12 Thur. Jan. 16: Luang Prabang (B) Transfer to Yoga space for morning class. Breakfast followed by morning meditation and short discussion at guest house. Excursion by boat up the Mekong up to its juntion with the Nam Ou river where  we’ll visit the Pak Ou holy cave, housing thousands of Buddha's brought by devotees. Following this, we continue on to Ban Shanghai distillation village, where they produce alcohol from sticky rice. Lunch by the Mekong River. Free time or futher meetings with novices to hear about their lives. Late afternoon we join the monks and novices for their late afternoon chants  at the Wat Nong temple.

Day 13 Fri. Jan. 17 Luang Prabang (B,D) Breakfast, followed by morning meditation and short discussion at guest house. Then an excursion overland to a beautiful short trek to the stunning Kuangsi waterfall, and perhaps the falls. In the late afternoon, our final chanting meditation with our friends at Vat Nong.

Day 14: Sat. Jan. 18:  Free Day to do last minute shopping, take another excursion, wander along the river or whatever you wish. Evening meal of Laotian food and a traditional Baci (blessing) ceremony to wish you  luck and happiness in the coming year.

Day 15: Sun. Jan. 19: Luang Prabang (BLD)
Transit  Return to the USA (arriving the same calender day)  or book our optional 5 day, 4 night package to Angkor Wat in neighboring Cambodia.

Included:
  • RT Airfare SFO/Vientiane/Luang Prabangi/USA.  
  • All transfer, airport to hotel
  • One-way airfare, Vientiane to Luang Prabang.
  • 3 nights in Vientiane Laos
  • 9 nights in Luang Prabang Laos
  • Guided tour of National museum, Wat Sisaket, Wat Sok Pa, with guided
    meditation, Pra Thatluang Stupa in Vientiane Laos.
  • Visits to two prominent NGO’s that support victims of land mines.
  • Walking tour through historic Luang Prabang.
  • Visits to Wat Xieng thong, Wat Visoun, Wat Ahman. Buddhist Monasteries,
    and the Wat atop Phousi mountain. 
  • Visit to the Luang Prabang morning market and the old Royal Palace, now a
    museum.
  • Visit by kayak to an Elephant Camp with a ride to Tad Sea waterfall and
    included picnic lunch.
  • Visit to Hill Tribe people of ethnic Hunan weavers and then a pottery
    village.
  • Evening performance of traditional dance and music at the palace.
  • Boat excursion up the Mekong River to Pak Ou holy cave and then to a
    distillation village.
  • Excursion by car and trek to Kuansi Waterfall and visit to further Hill
    Tribe villages on return to Luang Prabang.
  • 3 Yoga classes in Luang Prabang.
  • Optional meditation session most every morning.
  • Services of Made Surya, tourism professional
  • Laotian guide during entire tour.
  • Chanting with local monks most afternoons in Luang Prabang and a meeting
    with the local Abbot.
  • Almsgiving morning ritual in Luang Prabang.
  • Guided tour of the Luang Prabang Night Market.
  • A pretour packet of information.

Not Included:
  • Most meals
  • Visa fee on arrival and airport departure tax.
  • Additional activities
  • Tips and laundry

Details
Trip Cost and Fees: $4555.00.
Price without air deduct $1650.00. The trip price is based on two persons sharing a twin-bedded room with private bath. Hotels have hot water, western toilets, swimming pools.  Also included, full breakfasts, excursions and seminars listed in the itinerary, services of local guides,
and pre-trip information. Open-ended flight ticket. Price may rise due to petrol hikes (airlines). Minimum 8 participants. Maximum 16.

Deposit: A deposit of $350.00 per person is required to hold space. Checks may be sent to Danu Enterprises, PO Box 156 Capitola Ca. 95010. Final payments are due 6 weeks prior to departure.

Cancellations and Refunds: For the land portion a cancellation fee of $75.00 is assessed up to point of  final payment, after which 50% will be charged. After air tickets have been issued there is an additional penalty. No refunds will be made after Dec. 15 2013 except for amounts recoverable. Trip cancellation and emergency evacuation insurance is recommended. Any one who leaves the trip at any time, for any reason, is on their own. Air fare rates may rise, due to tax fluxuations.

Roommates: Single travelers may sign up for accommodations desired on a shared basis and can choose a roommate from among other trip members if circumstances permit.  If a roommate is unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a single supplement: $495.00.  

Transportation: Round trip air transportation will be on regularly scheduled airlines flights between San Francisco, LAX and Vientiane Laos. Ground only package available. Flights fill up quickly as it is High Season. Ground only status does not include transfers to and from airport and hotel.

Meals: Meals as designated in the itinerary B: Breakfast L: Lunch D:Dinner. Tour leader will also join group at best local restaurants and make suggestions. Many vegetarian options. Sightseeing and Excursions: All sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary will be carried out by air-conditioned motor coach.

All admission fees are included.
Passport, Visa, and Health requirement: A passport, valid six months from the date of entry with proof of onward passage required. Visa on Arrival.
No inoculations are presently required.  

Arrangements: Trip package by Danu Enterprises,
PO Box 156 Capitola Ca. 95010.
(888) 476-0543. E-mail :danu@earthlink.net.
Trip Organizer: Judy Slattum is a professional tour organizer and has been leading study tours to SEAsia since 1985.

Adrianne VincenAdrianne Vincent: Meditation and Yoga Instructor Adrianne Vincent is an
Integrative Medical Educator, Bodywork Practitioner, Meditation Teacher,
Buddhist Ritual Minister, and LGBT community advocate.
She graduated with an A.B. in the History of Art from the University of
California at Berkeley, where she focused on Feminist Studies and the
History of Art. She also studied at Stanford University and the University
of California Santa Cruz.
She has integrative medical private practices in both California and
Massachusetts. Adrianne is a Founding Community Member of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA, and a Founding Member of the Institute for Health and Healing (IHH) at the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco, CA. She has been practicing vipassana mindfulness meditation since 1980, and yoga since 1975. She has been teaching meditation, bodywork and yoga in North America, South America and Asia since 1985.
>Adrianne is a member of Spirit Rock in California, as well as the Harvard Episcopal and Buddhist communities. She is from a multi-religious and multi-ethnic family and believes in the importance of integrating different spiritual beliefs with depth, meaning and fluidity, and offering ritual spaces that are both sacred and personal.


www.adriannevincent.com
www.danutours.com

 



Call toll free 888-476-0543 or email for further information.
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