The scenic, peaceful journey to Ban Sangkong village is an opportunity to savor the majesty of nature first hand with beautiful river views at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers. Traverse a traditional bamboo bridge at the end of the peninsula before a short hike to the top of the hill, where endless views over the mountainous terrain await. Experience a sacred spirit house - the king’s guardian – which is a daily pilgrimage for local villagers who climb the hill to leave their offerings.
Next stop is Wat Xieng Lek, one of the oldest of the beautiful temples to be found in Luang Prabang. Here, an elderly and revered abbot resides and if he is home you may have the opportunity to enquire about your future. Approaching Ban Sangkong village on foot, you will experience a culture steeped in the ancient handwoven textile and paper-making traditions. Learn about the production of Saa paper and a variety of traditional textiles from the local artisans, while discovering more about the role local crafts have played in village life as well as helping to shape the colorful cultural identity of Luang Prabang. Finish off your explorations of this unique community with a tea break on the balcony of a rural weaving house with beautiful Mekong river views, before walking back across the bridge.
Nestled along the opposite shores of the Mekong River, the picturesque pottery village of Ban Jarn is a journey back in time to discover the traditional crafts and way of life of one of a multitude of ethnic hill-tribes. From a riverside pier on the outskirts of Luang Prabang, your guide will accompany you on a short ferry ride across the languid waters before you embark on a scenic mountain bike trail through resplendent rural landscapes.
Upon arrival at the small pottery village, you will have the opportunity to wander around and meet with local artisans who still practice ancient techniques passed down from generation to generation. You will try your hand at making clay vases, pots and containers, while learning about the role ceramic craftsmanship has played in the daily life of the village for centuries. After honing your pottery skills, you will load your bike onto an awaiting boat at the village pier to take a leisurely ride back across the river where our driver will await you to transfer you back to the resort.
The neighboring village of Nadueay is situated an easy five-minute walk across the hillside and provides a fascinating glimpse of the simple farming techniques and lifestyles that have remained largely unchanged for centuries. Begin by ascending the staircase at the top of the resort and stroll through the picturesque teak forest that lines the hillside, before descending the slopes into the verdant agricultural landscapes below. Experience first-hand the everyday life of the inhabitants of Nadueay, as they prepare the seasonal harvest of organic vegetables, herbs and salads that find their way onto the tables of the resorts and restaurants of Luang Prabang.
As you wander through the village stop by at the atmospheric temple where you can appreciate painted wall stories depicting the teaching principals of Buddha. Also, pay a visit to our school, a project conceived with the aim of teaching hospitality and English skills to local people and then taking them on as apprentices into our operation. The close proximity of the village means you can observe this simple rural lifestyle at any time.
Set out to explore the distinct lifestyles of two different ethnic communities; the Khmu and Lao Lum hill-tribes. Begin with a scenic 30-minute journey by car to Ban Panor Village, taking in awe-inspiring views of towering mountains and scenic valleys along the way as you ascend to an altitude of 800m above sea level. Upon arrival, take a leisurely stroll around the simple forest-gatherer settlement and learn about the Khmu inhabitants, descendants from the Khmer people of Cambodia. Discover their simplistic ways of life in tune with nature and look inside their simple bamboo homes, where they live straight off the ground around a centralized fire pit. If you are fortunate these hospitable people will invite you in to drink some Laotian rice whisky beside the fire as they recite their ancestral stories.
Next, journey to Xieng Muak village by mountain bike through a lush tapestry of landscapes from picturesque strawberry gardens and endless fields of organic vegetables to water cress farms and rice fields. Stop at a tranquil viewpoint along the way for a moment's contemplation and pick out a water buffalo lazily grazing amid the fields. The Lao Lum tribe of Xieng Muak lead a relaxed Buddhist lifestyle of farming water cress in the shallow river and in recent times have made their income by selling their wares in the town markets to afford western trappings such as fuel for their cars and motorbikes. From here it’s a thrilling 30-minute downhill mountain bike ride back to Rosewood.
A morning excursion to the weaving village brings you back in time with old traditions and artisans. This gives you the opportunity to see a different way of life, far from the Western longings of the material world, focused on spending time with family and honoring the arts passed down through generations.
Starting after breakfast we take a short car journey to a hidden weaving village on the Mekong riverside; Rosewood have a unique partnership with this village which limits access and keeps it truly authentic.
Walk across a wooden bridge and discover a different way of life on the other side. We first introduce you to the local families and give you a chance to understand their traditions and artistry first hand, then you are given the chance to try it yourself, leaving with a respect for these extremely talented local artisans.
After the village we bring you to the Living Craft Centre to explain the process of weaving, dying and batik. Here you are also able to source memories to bring home, handcrafted by the families you met.