I am planning a 1-2 month trip to laos and vietnam. I am trying to find out if there are any places in these countries that are offering any sorts of courses besides cooking, language or yoga classes.
My idea for this trip is less traveling around and more finding a nice laid back place to stay for a longer period of time and exploring the surroundings and the culture little by little. I have seen posts about different courses one can do in ho chi min and in hanoi, but from what i understand these cities r very busy and noisy, and im not a city person, so i would like to find something smaller and surrounded by nature, so i could easily take go on short treks.
I am especially interested in possibilities of taking classes in local arts and crafts, but i would be glad to hear about anything at all :) Also, if i find a workshop somewhere, is it possible to ask them for some sort of a private arrangement (im willing to pay of course), or is it very uncommon, and maybe even unacceptable?
So if anyone has any ideas at all, ill be really glad to hear. Maybe someone has seen any posts anywhere in guesthouses or met someone who did something of that sort?
#1 MariaT has been a member since 23/7/2009. Posts: 3
sorry for posting both on laos and on vietnam boards, i tried to delete one of them, but couldnt find a way...:/
#2 MariaT has been a member since 23/7/2009. Posts: 3
"I am especially interested in possibilities of taking classes in local arts and crafts"
The challenge here would be language. Once you leave the cities and move into rural or provincial environments (like where I live) it gets tough to find things not in local language. That means all explaining is by doing - and that can be tougher than it sounds.
I teach dance in provincial Thailand (right on the Lao border) and my language skills are barely adequate after two years here. Fortunately most (but not all) of my students speak some English.
there's at least one place each in Vientiane & Luang Prabang that hold dyeing & weaving classes for tourists, could be more but i don't know.
see: www.houeyhongcentre.com/visit_the_centre.php & www.ockpoptok.com
if you visit Luang Prabang in the last week of this coming Sept/first few days of this Oct, just look around for locals making lanterns & floats for Boun Ok Phansa & ask if you can learn. & all year round there are always people making temple offerings from folded banana leaves & flowers, & many Hmong women in the Luang Prabang night market selling the crafts they make...if you are adventurous & can find someone to translate, could try asking for informal lessons. think it's easier to find such opportunities when staying in a family-run guesthouse.
I too am not a city person, I'd suggest going to a smaller town. Everyone there will realize what you are interested in after you ask around.
Travelfish has a good if brief description of a town I like here.
It's quiet and beautiful but they do have a few English speakers and guest houses and a couple of restaurants with English language menues. Most of the minorities still dress in traditional clothing so there is a lot of weaving going on for every day use. I like the things the Lanten make, thier baskets are absolutely gorgeous. If you look carefully you'll notice many people wearing home spun and woven cotton, and carrying woven baskets.
The crafts shop mentioned is now a bank, but it has moved down the road, easy to find most whatever you are looking for after a day or two.
Back to Maria T's question....
Look what I found on Travelfish.
They teach how to weave and dye and all for an extremely reasonable price. Not very far from downtown actually but I'd think if you found a close by guest house things would get very quiet at night.
I think the same lady at Vanvisa (laos_info's #10) also teaches Lao cooking classes too. Her food is excellent and authentic. Perhaps you could arrange for a long term rental at Vanvisa in Luang Prabang. There are several textile places that offer Lao weaving courses too.
#14 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136