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A Laotian village in Northern Thailand

A visit to a Laotian village in Northern Thailand

A visit to a Laotian village in Northern Thailand

A visit to a Laotian village in Northern Thailand for Travel Photo Mondays

 

It was surprising to learn that there are a few settlements of Laotian villages throughout Northern Thailand. This was due partly to an exodus of whole tribes into Thailand to avoid the persecution of their people during a cultural revolution that devastated the country in the 20th century.  Through the generosity of the local Thai government, these local tribes were able to keep up their culture and villages into a cultural center for visitors to visit and experience their traditions and crafts.

 

Countryside at Ta Dam village in Loei, Thailand

Countryside at Ta Dam village in Loei, Thailand

 

 

We went to two villages just outside of the city of Chang Kiang in the Loei region to see the recreated village and experience something about each tribal group. After a weird photo-op set up with the entire village members, we were seated into a large pavilion and treated to some customary dances, music and song. The fun part was when they invited our group of travel writers to get up and join them in a dance around a may pole festooned with colorful emblems and crafts. Needless to say, it was ridiculous trying to mimic their moves but fun never-the-less enjoying something shared between the villagers and our clumsy group.

 

 

Musical instruments and singing at Ta Dam village

Musical instruments and singing at Ta Dam village

Dancing around a colorful maypole at Ta Dam Village

 

Traditional dance around a harvest pole at Tai Dam Village

Traditional dance around a harvest pole at Tai Dam Village

 

 

After the dance performance and a few polite introductory welcomes, we were invited to walk around the elevated homes and underneath each were craft tables set up by each villager selling some of their handiwork.  I bought a strange black soap with tropical scents and a bag of sweet dried tamarind candies for snacks to tie me over each meal.  This was a fun opportunity to also see each artist giving a demonstration of how they do their craftwork.

 

Handicrafts at Ta Dam Village

Handicrafts at Ta Dam Village

 

We also played a fun local game made with these colorful bean bag balls that you toss through these small hoops placed on a tall pole. The game is to be on either side of the pole, trying toss the ball through these small hoops to make points for each successful toss.  The grandma playing the game with us was winning by a large margin but was very sweet and helpful giving simple demonstrations on how to do it successfully.

 

Friendly greetings from Ta Dam children

Friendly greetings from Ta Dam children

 

Even though the cultural village was a bit staged for the visit, the genuine and friendly nature of the villagers made the experience authentic and unique – something I didn’t expect to find on this tour.  I think the visit was definitely enjoyable and a nice way to learn about the Laotian tribes that have settled into this area.

 

Following are some photo highlights and a short video I made of a traditional dance and music being performed during our visit:

 

Homes of the Ta Dam people in Loei, Thailand

Homes of the Ta Dam people in Loei, Thailand

 

 

Beautiful smiles and local jewelry of the Ta Dam people

Beautiful smiles and local jewelry of the Ta Dam people

 

 

Dance around a maypole at the Ta Dam cultural village

Dance around a maypole at the Ta Dam cultural village

 

It was good to see that the elders of the community place a lot of emphasis on cultural and traditional values like their dances, music and crafts that they share with visitors to the village. Each member also learns many of the local crafts to sell as a side business to supplement their farming communities. Of course purchasing a small token from a villager is always welcomed with a friendly smile and genuine appreciation that you are visiting their village and helping to support their community.

 

Selling hand made crafts at Ta dam village

Selling hand made crafts at Ta dam village

 

 

 

Architectural homes of the Tai Dam Village

Architectural homes of the Tai Dam Village

Following is a video of one of the dances being performed by the most of the villagers in their traditional costumes.

 


Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoyed this visit to a Laotian village in Northern Thailand. If so please do share it with any of the social media buttons around the post, thank you. Also, it’s Travel Photo Mondays, so please do visit the other bloggers linking up below for today’s link up.

 

I enjoyed this tour courtesy of the Thailand authority of Tourism in conjunction with Tbex Thailand 2015, all thoughts and opinions were my own.

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25 Responses to A Laotian village in Northern Thailand

  1. Duke Stewart June 9, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    I loved going through the photos of this village, regardless of its being a recreation. I know some commenters preferred it to be an original but with this one, as with others, that’s probably unavoidable.

    Turbulent historical events don’t really consider whether or not tourists are going to come along years later and complain about a site’s authenticity. It’s interesting that the Thai Government was kind to them and allowed them to stay in the country though.

    Given the issues between SE Asian governments over land and other issues, I guess the Thais were sticking it to the Laotian Government by letting them in. I’d love to know more about that story if there’s more information out there.

    I’ve loved reading your stories and the photos that are included. I feel like I’m right there when visiting. Thanks for doing that through your careful wording and wonderfully-created photos.

    Take Care.

    • Noel June 9, 2015 at 6:29 am #

      Yes, I would love to do more research about how these tribes had been moving across all these countries and what the back story is to all this.

  2. Sue Reddel May 17, 2015 at 3:48 am #

    Your photos are always amazing Noel. I haven’t been to Laos but you certainly entice me with your story.

  3. Rachel May 15, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    Beautiful photos! I always have mixed feelings, though, about staged culture like this. Do they do it out of pride for their culture or because they have no choice? I remember visiting a Masai village once and watching Masai ‘warriors’ dancing listlessly for the tourists. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

    • Noel May 15, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      I’m sure they promised them some journalists promoting the village and also being able to sell their crafts which they all have booths to sell their crafts, so in some way you are supporting the community directly if you do purchase something direct from the maker.

  4. Cindy May 15, 2015 at 3:46 am #

    Noel – Your pictures are lovely. We did a similar day trip to visit a different group when we were in Thailand and I too was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s an uncomfortable balance, but tourism does provide an incentive to maintain traditional culture and I think it can be done reasonably respectfully. (And it gives photographers an easy and more comfortable way to get pictures.) However, I don’t think “generousity” is the word I would use regarding the Thai government’s treatment of any of their ethnic minorities, although they are more accepting of those communities willing to serve as a tourist draw. But then, Thailand has a lot of issues these days.

    I’m still not able to see your posts until several days after you have posted, which is the reason I haven’t linked. I couldn’t even find the link in my newsfeed this week. Not sure what is going on, but I never can get your most recent posts when I go to your site – not even when I refresh or search for recent posts/comments. It’s really weird.

  5. Linda McCormick May 14, 2015 at 4:07 am #

    Wonderful images, Noel. Great expressions.
    When I see a post like this it reminds me how little I take photos of people and faces. I often go for landscapes and buildings or macro, mainly because I think people must be so fed up of being photographed in some places I find it hard to ask permission, so I tend to steer away from people shots altogether!

    • Noel May 14, 2015 at 4:14 am #

      Many public events and cultures are very open to photography in the Asian countries, so taking photos of people is an accepted norm. BUt is is always good to ask or gesture about taking a photograph.

  6. Carole Terwilliger Meyers May 13, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    I love that first image. These women must stay up at night planning what they will wear to wow the next day’s photographer!

  7. suzanne Stavert May 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    What an interesting place to visit! It looks like something out of National Geographic! Love photos. The dog watching the may pole dance was sweet.

  8. Josie May 12, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    Hi Noel,

    This raised homes look so tidy and clever, albeit tiny. What a fantastic tour of this interesting culture.

    Josie

  9. santafetraveler May 12, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    What wonderful photos of the people in native dress. What a wonderful experience.

  10. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go May 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    Thanks for the introduction to the amazing people of Ta Dam village. How fortunate for them to find refuge in Thailand and to preserve their culture, history and way of life. As usual, your photos are gorgeous and while I loved the people pics, your photo of the countryside was stunning!

  11. jenny@atasteoftravel May 11, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    I’m not sure How I feel about recreated villages. If they have to be like this, I do prefer them to be operated by the villagers so they can retain the money they make. I do like the fact that it keeps the village traditions alive. Fabulous photos as usual!

    • Noel May 12, 2015 at 3:38 am #

      They get to keep the money directly from the craft or food items they sell directly to the visitors so it is good supplemental income

  12. Susan Moore May 11, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    Great photos – thanks for sharing! I have not been to Laos yet. The photos remind me of my hill-tribe trek in Pai, Thailand – except the Laotian village looks quite a bit fancier. Enjoy your travels!

  13. Donna Janke May 11, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    Even if the Laotion village was a bit staged for tourists, it sounds like a fascinating experience. Your photos are gorgeous – I love what you’ve captured in the faces.

  14. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru May 11, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    So used to devouring your gorgeous landscape photos, and now we are treated to beguiling shots of the tribal people in their native dress and environment. Lovely work.

  15. Charles McCool May 11, 2015 at 3:48 am #

    Gorgeous photos, Noel.

  16. Paula McInerney May 11, 2015 at 3:48 am #

    Every time I see you photos i say wow. I am saying wow again. They are beautiful as is the text

  17. Rhonda Albom May 11, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    Beautiful, coloful photo. Looks like an interesting tour. The girl with the red hair seem strangely out of place.

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    […] A unique place to visit is the Loatian village at Tai Dam Village which is a preserved village that now serves as a cultural center and village. This area is home to these ethnic Loatian tribes that showcases some authentic homes, people, daily lifestyle and crafts of the region. The group occasionally gathers  to share some of their dances and culture with visitors to their village and you can see their craftwork and purchase some traditional snacks from the various vendors. For more information and pictures about the village and visiting, check out my recent post on the Ta Dam village here. […]

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