Ban Xang Hai - Luang Prabang

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An old woman sits at a loom in Ban Xang Hai village.

Throughout Laos, the traditional rice whiskey is an important component. Whether at ceremonies or simply in everyday life, the high-proof stimulant may not be missing anywhere. Near Luang Prabang you have the opportunity to visit the so-called Whisky Village and stock up on a few bottles of Lao Lao yourself.

Children near Ban Xang Hai village playing soccer at sunset.

It is already late afternoon when we reach Ban Xang Hai, 25 kilometers away. If you rent a scooter, be careful, because the roads are partly in bad condition. The small village is located off the main road on the banks of the Mekong River. When we arrive, children are romping around the soccer field, but otherwise there is not much going on in Whisky Village, because the tourist crowds are long gone.

A small child in Ban Xang Hai claps the hand of a young woman.

Already the first little house in the village offers a large selection of different bottles of Lao Lao, which means alcohol from Laos. On closer inspection, however, it sets our hair on end, because each jar contains a different dead animal. Whether lizards, snakes or scorpions, the animals definitely have no business being in there! But it is believed that these increase the masculinity, moreover, they are an eye-catcher for the tourists. 

A young woman walks through the weaving village of Ban Xang Hai at sunset.

We gratefully decline the liquor with an alcohol content of around 40%, because we are in the village for a completely different reason. Ban Xang Hai is also known as a weaving village, where locals make beautiful fabrics from Laotian silk. Along the narrow alley, the colorful handmade cloths are lined up. Women sit smiling at their looms and children wave friendly at you. Since we are the only tourists in the village, everyone of course tries to sell his goods and so we feel after some time slightly rushed and forced to buy.

An old woman sits at her loom and works on her fabric.
An old woman sits at her loom and works on her fabric.
An old woman sits at her loom and works on her fabric.

At each stand we look at the beautiful fabrics, some of which are embroidered by hand. But unfortunately we have no room, because our backpacks are already heavy enough without souvenirs. However, if you are looking for something unique, then definitely come to the weaving village Ban Xang Hai. The prices are more than fair and still a bargain compared to Germany.

Close-up of a loom with cloth clamped.
Close-up of a loom with cloth clamped.
Three monks walk towards the sunset on a dusty street in Luang Prabang.

However, there is not much to see of the whiskey, only two stalls offer the liquor. Otherwise, everything revolves around the silky fabrics. The village is definitely worth a short detour. Oh yes, of course we can't resist and roll back onto the road with a little souvenir. We drive towards the sunset and leave Luang Prabang behind us. Vang Vieng is our next destination! 

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