Laos is a country rich with history, and while the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is a great spot to see showcases of the culture and practices of its many ethnic communities, an excursion to Luang Prabang’s nearby villages allows travelers to truly experience and appreciate the diversity of Laos’ villages.
Yuan Village (Ban Pickngai)
The Yuan people, who once ventured from northern Thailand to farm the rice paddies in the lowlands of Laos, populate this village in the plains outside of Luang Prabang. The tribe’s agricultural culture is a nod to old Thai traditions, and visitors can learn about the day-to-day lives of these farmers and their families.
Khmu Village (Ban Na Tan)
Home to the Khmu people, one of the largest ethnic groups in northern Laos, Ban Na Tan is known for its inhabitants’ rich tradition of hunting, gathering and fishing. Villagers work together to accomplish daily tasks, and elders and shaman hold the most-respected positions in the community.
Hmong Village (Ban Long Lan)
An organic coffee plantation and impressive vegetable farm make this local mountain village a charming stop. About an hour and a half from Luang Prabang, visitors to this area can meet and interact with members of the Hmong tribe and learn about traditional medicine practices and herbal remedies used by local shamans.
Hath Hient Village
Visitors to this tiny village just outside of Luang Prabang can learn about age-old techniques used to fashion the famous, traditional iron knives of this tribe. Villagers have perfected the craft over centuries and passed it down from generation to generation, making for a high-quality works of art. Travelers can meet the village’s artisans and witness the creation of these famous tools by traditional blacksmiths.
Ban Xang Khong (Ban Sang Khong)
Located about 3 miles (5km) outside of Luang Prabang, this small village is known for its woven textiles and silk. Aside from the woven textiles, the locals also produce Saa paper which is made from mulberry trees.