We opted for a village tour with a local jumbo driver. The jumbo driver was great. He was lovely and had a great sense of humour. He had photos in his jumbo and one showed him and his wife at the Sydney Opera House. I found this surprising as so many people in Laos live on so little, it’s hard to imagine them not only being able to leave the country, but to spend time in countries where the living cost is so many times more than what they are used to.
At $5US per head, the village tour was a fairly cheap way to spend the afternoon. Before the tour, we were told that the conditions would seem harsh to us because these are real working villages. The people we saw actually live in these villages and make things to sell. They actors in a museum, pretending to work for tourists.
We visited a real blacksmith village, a real Lao Lao whiskey village and also saw the production of paper, silk and silver (tourist displays).
The jumbo looks a bit like our little suze. Maybe a bit littler.
The first village we went to was a blacksmith village. All the metal was recycled, some from old cars. Here a man recycles a piece of metal with his blacksmith magic and turns it into a knife.
Their kids weren’t working, but when the father was finished with the mallet, his son skillfully takes over and shapes a pointed spear for catching fish. How cool is that? Kids that make their own spears and catch their own fish. It’s amazing what kids can do if you just let them. I feel like kids these days are wrapped in bubble wrap and aren’t expected to do anything. Give children room to grow and learn. It’s amazing what they can do.
The gentle climate allows for simple housing, but attached to almost every house is a big ass satellite dish.
A pile of scrap metal…
Is expertly fashioned into braziers or pot holders?
Lao Lao Village
Lao Lao, the local moonshine, is made from fermented rice. Once the rice is used, it doesn’t go to waste, but instead feeds pigs. All the Lao Lao makers keep pigs because it costs nothing to feed them. I asked if the pigs get drunk from the rice. Yes they do. Also, any chickens that eat the rice also get drunk. It must be a funny sight!
These porcine drunks just wanted a head scratch. They were pretty friendly. I guess booze is a social lubricant.
Lao Lao village villagers. I wonder what this little one thinks about all this?
Lao Lao machine.
The Lao Lao maker makes friends with The Koala.
…who makes friends with the Lao Lao.
At the Lao Lao village, they also made dried seaweed snacks. I guess they must compliment the whiskey very well. I wish I had bought some. The lady making this stuff was busy and didn’t try and sell us any. But if she had, we probably would have all bought some.
This wasn’t officially part of the village tour but a single shop and was open to tourists. But still, interesting how these worms make silk.
Silk worms feast on mulberry leaves.
Then spin cocoons.
If leaft unharvested, they will turn into moths.
Dyed strands of silk…
Are woven into fabric and garments.
Also just a single shop rather than a village and the silver here was really expensive compared to the night markets. I don’t know if it was just tourist prices here or that the market prices were too cheap.
Village Tour Tips:
- Visit a working village, not set up shops where people work for display purposes only.
Village Tour Highlights:
- Seeing how people actually work and also comparing them to the shops.
That little whiskey village is where Anthony Bourdain filmed part of his show from Laos. His whole crews got so hammered at that little whiskey village. I did similar tour but by boat back in 2005, on our way up see the cave “Thum Ting”.
By the way, did you get to visit this little village that specialist on pottery. This village is just few kilometers south of LPB but across the MeKong River.
Sweet! I love Bourdain. We were quite well behaved when we went and only The Koala got drunk. We didn’t go to the pottery village, but I loved the whole village aspect of the businesses we did go to. We also went to the Buddha cave by boat on the way from Laos to Thailand.