The villages of ban Xang Khong & Ban Xieng Lek have specialised for many years in manufacturing and selling products made from silk and Saa Paper (paper made from the bark of the Saa Tree).
Many "big" stores have grown in recent years in the neighborhood, but there is also some private little house runned by local people who are using looms in the traditional the techniques.
There are also 3 magnificent pagodas to be seen (Wat Sang khong, Wat Nong Sai, Wat Xieng Lek), which are amongst the oldest in Luang Prabang and are made up of beautifully renovated buildings and a stupa (mound-like structure), which has been kept in its original state. In the last temple, lives one of the eldest and most venerable and persons of the town (he is nearly 70 years old, and has been a bonze since the age of 14).
Walking through a village, like in Ban Phanom, you will be amazed at the number of weaving looms. There are many shops here; but also many weavers who only have one skein of yarn. To be able to appreciate the diversity of products, you will have to look at everybody’s goods …
The silk all comes from Laos. And so, you will be able to find goods made in Luang Prabang (in the shops there are very few of them), as well as from Vang Vieng, Luang Nam Tha or Sam Neua or … China.
How to get there
Go to the North station (you can take the little wooden bridge if you go by bicycle). At the North station, continue for about 50 yards, and turn left (just after the petrol station). Then, go straight on. The village is on the left, along the Mekong. To find Luang Prabang again, continue on the dirt track, which will bring you back to the little wooden bridge.
My advice : Its easy to go by bicycle because the road is pretty flat even though it’s a little bit congested around the station. Its best to avoid the tourist crowds (9h00 - 11h00)