The small town of Chiang Khan sits alongside the Maekhong River in Loei Province. Many of the local people are descended from Lao people who migrated here from Luang Prabang. One of the traditions they brought with them was offering sticky rice to monks during their morning alms rounds.
Chiang Khan is a charming old market town and a great place to relax and enjoy the slow pace of life. Along the waterfront there are many guesthouses and small hotels. Many of these offer bicycles for rent so you can explore the surrounding lanes. They also help you with alms if you want to offer them to the monks in the morning.
To witness this Buddhist tradition, you need to be in front of your hotel by about 6 a.m. Even if it is dark the monks will still come. Traditionally they are offered just a pinch of sticky rice which is put in their alms bowl. However, Bangkok people have brought along their tradition of also offering curries and desserts. You can also offer them flowers.
Although geographically located in the Northeast, Loei has many things in common with the Northern region with numerous high hills and mountains, and wintry and foggy climate. It is the only province in Thailand which has the dubious distinction of the mercury plummeting to zero Celsius. Loei is 520 kilometers from Bangkok.