Just a few km outside Luang Prabang is the weaving village of Ban Xang Khong.  For anyone interested in Lao textiles it’s a great way to spend a morning.  Grab a tuk tuk but make sure you have the name of the village written down because it’s not exactly a tourist hot spot and it took a conversation with several drivers and a local shop keeper to get the destination clear.  In wet weather it is definitely not a bike-riding excursion – the roads are in very poor condition, dirt at least half the way and potholes that would eat a small car.

There are a number of homes to visit where you can see weaving and dyeing but the largest and most interesting is the Lao Silk Handcrafts – Weaving, Dyeing & Silk Centre (Ms Boualay Douang Dara)  Many weavers in action and  the owner on hand to give personalised mini-tours and explain all the steps in the silk making process.   Those with an understanding of the ikat process of fabric dyeing (threads tied and dyed prior to weaving) will be interested to add “mut mee” (the Lao word for ikat) to their vocabulary. 

Samples of a wide variety of natural dyes and the colours obtained are on display, as are all the steps from feeding the silkworms through reeling the silk thread from the cocoons, cleaning, degumming, spinning and finally to weaving.  They have an extensive selection of weavings on display and most are for sale.  You can view some of the traditional pieces being made – some with silks subtly coloured  with natural dyes, others, with chemical dyes which give stronger colours.  In order to expand their business and cater for foreign tourists more contemporary designs have been added to the range.  Scarf lovers will love watching modern checked, striped and textured scarves being made. 

In addition to the silk weaving, tourists can visit a small papermaking facility.  Hand made paper is produced and turned into carry bags and gift boxed.  Have a look at the souvenirs you bought – it they are in one of these bags, chances are it came from Ban Xang Khong.

But just before Newbridge to Ban Xangkhong, see the Indigo and natural color products at Nam Song Sai Ecolodge. Here you can have more experience and lean more about the trees, the leaves that products fantastic authentic original color .

modern scarvestraditional weaving designs