The village of Ban Phanom
10 minutes from the centre by tuktuk
A little more than a mile from the Phon Phau Temple, this small and very typical village exists mainly due to the manufacture of woven goods which they expose on the night market.
This village very quickly became one of the acknowledged suppliers of the King (at the time when the country was ruled by a King) who was said to have bought a large quantity. The village is full of history, culture, and a weaving experience that you can still find in some other villages in Laos (Luang Namtha, Sam Neua, etc.) where methods, techniques, and patterns are still those of old times.
The majority of the village’s production is done according to a technique that uses cotton and silk. The weave is done with thick cotton threads, that are often of different colours, which gives a shimmering effect, whilst the patterns are woven from silk.
Nearly all families possess 1 or more weaving looms. Some have even created small workshops. A sort of a co-operative was set up at the end of the village, which groups together a few dozen manufacturers. The prices are affordable, and are open to discussion.
How to get there
The village of Ban Phanom is on the outskirts of the town, in the direction of the airport, before the bridge, to the right on a renovated road. It overlooks the temple Wat Phon Phau on the hill that leads to the weaver’s village. There’s about 2 ½ miles between Luang Prabang and Ban Phanom.
The village of Ban Phanom is situated on the banks of the Nam Khan River, one of the largest tributaries of the Mekong. You can get there by renting a touktouk (that you pay when the journey’s finished ...)
My advice : The co-operative, O.K. if you really insist …. The village on the other hand, has kept a lot of its initial charm ... Further on, you can see the grave of Henri Mouhot* beside the river Nam Khan ; the site is beautiful and wild. Further on, you can visit the elephant camps.
* Henri Mouhot (1826 - 1861) was the first occidental to have explored Angkor Wat, then Laos, before dying there, prostrated with yellow fever.