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Yoga and Meditation in the Tranquility of Laos with Adrianne Vincent

 

Jan. 4-16 2015

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 at 6:00AM 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 neighbors, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, and sharing much of their 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 home in Laos is the small 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 visit “our” local Wat, where we will join the community in daily meditation and chanting sessions.

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 practitioners as well as beginners are welcomed to join this journey.



 

Itinerary:

Sat. Jan. 3: Arrive at airport late evening to check in 1 1/2 to 2 hours prior to departure.

Day 1: Sun. Jan. 4: Transit Depart after midnight aboard Eva or China Airways for Tai Pei.

Day 2: Mon. Jan. 5: Tai Pei/ Bangkok/ Luang Prabang (B,L,D) You arrive in Tai Pei and make a transfer for your flight to Luang Prabang, Laos. 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. You apply for entry visa upon arrival, meet your Laotian local guide, and are transferred to our Hotel. After checking into your guest house, we will have an orientation, and learn a few words in Lao. In the evening we visit a local restaurant that features Laotian specialties.

Day 3: Tues. Jan. 6: Luang Prabang(B) Transfer by local tuk tuk to our first Yoga class, overlooking the Nam Khan River. Return to hotel for breakfast. Then we meet our guide and walk along 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. Then we continue on our historic walking tour, which eventually includes Wat Nong, where we will be regularly meditating. After lunch overlooking the Mekong, we visit 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, our regular “meditation hall” during our visit. Then we have our own gathering with Adrianne to discuss our impressions. Dinner on your own.

Day 4: Wed. Jan. 7: 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. Return to hotel for breakfast, then meditation at Wat Nong. 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 5: Thur. Jan. 8: Luang Prabang (B) Take a tuk tuk to yoga class with Adrianne, then return for breakfast and morning meditation at Wat Nong. 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. Join the local monks and novices in their late afternoon chanting in the Wat. In the evening, a performance of traditional dance at the Royal Palace.

Day 6: Fri. Jan. 9: Luang Prabang (B,L) Breakfast followed by meditation at Wat Nong and short discussion with Adrianne at our guest house. This morning we gather at for a fun and fascinating cooking workshop 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 7: Sat. Jan. 10: 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 8 Sun. Jan. 11: 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 by boat up the Mekong up to its junction 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 further 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 9 Mon. Jan. 12 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. Evening meal of Laotian food and a traditional Baci (blessing) ceremony to wish you luck and happiness in the coming year.

Day 10 Tues. Jan. 13 Luang Prabang (B) (BLD) Transit: Return to the USA or book our optional 5 day, 4 night package to Angkor Wat in neighboring Cambodia.


Included:
  • RT Airfare SFO/Vientianert to hotel
  • 9 nights in Luang Prabang Laos
  • 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 pre-tour packet of information.

Not Included:
  • Most meals
  • Visa fee on arrival
  • Additional activities
  • Tips and laundry

Details
Trip Cost and Fees: $3674.00
The trip price is based on two persons sharing a twin-bedded room with private bath. We use modern, locally owned hotels withT-V, Wi-Fi, hot water, western toilets, full breakfasts. Price includes 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 6 participants. Maximum 16. Do your own air and deduct $1575.00
Deposit: A deposit of $500.00 per person is required to hold space. Deadline for deposits must be made by Oct. 30, 2014. 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 2014 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.

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: $360.00 .

Transportation: Round trip air transportation will be on regularly scheduled airlines flights between San Francisco, 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: Madé Surya B.S. is a professional tour organizer and has been leading study tours to SEAsian for 28 years. He has translated and worked with scholars and educational film and video crews, including National Geographic, and lives in Asia half the year. He was senior research assistant for several scholarly books and is on the advisory board for Sacred Sites International. He has been a contributor to Hinduism Today. He is a traditional mask carver and dancer, and has been studying traditional medicine and massage for the past 14 years.

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 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 has been teaching meditation, bodywork and yoga in North America, South America and Asia since 1985.

Throughout this trip Vipassana teacher Adrianne Vincent will offer meditation instruction, lead Yoga and meditation sessions, and discuss Buddhist philosophy. We will also hear teaching 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 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.

Imagine the unique opportunity of joining local monks and novices in their chanting practice in beautiful, centuries-old Wats in the most beautiful town in SEAsia: :Luang Prabang. With Adrianne Vincent, a Founding Community Member of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA, who has been teaching meditation, bodywork and yoga in North America, South America and Asia since 1985.


www.adriannevincent.com
www.danutours.com

 



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