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.
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.
Dancing around a colorful maypole at Ta 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.