Photo: Artisan at work at Ban Chan.

Ban Chan pottery village

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See those decorative terracotta pots, ashtrays, roof tiles or lamp covers in the garden of your Luang Prabang hotel? These all came from Ban Chan, a Mekong village making pottery the old fashioned way.

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Also known as “the pottery village”, Ban Chan is located downriver on the other side of the Mekong, 3.5 kilometres by dirt road once you cross over from Luang Prabang. It’s worth the visit if you’re interested in handicrafts or as part of a day exploring Chomphet district—that can include hiking to temples, zip-lining at Green Jungle Park or serious mountain biking/motorbiking on the “Chomphet Loop”.

Plenty of produce on hand for small gifts. Photo taken in or around Ban Chan pottery village, Luang Prabang, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Plenty of produce on hand for small gifts. Photo: Cindy Fan

The village has a longstanding tradition of pottery making, however, the way of life is slowly fading and today only six families are still producing. The technique is rudimentary. Clay is mined from the earth and thrown on kick wheels—that’s sexy pottery-talk for shaping a round ceramic using a foot-powered potter’s wheel, an ancient “technology” and technique civilisation started using in third millennium BC.

Walk around the village and you may see people at work, making anything from small pots, candle holders and water buffalo figurines to big jars for making lao-Lao rice whiskey (see those jars in action at the whiskey village Ban Xang Hai).

How big is your backpack? Photo taken in or around Ban Chan pottery village, Luang Prabang, Laos by Cindy Fan.

How big is your backpack? Photo: Cindy Fan

Ban Chan still uses a wood fuelled kiln, and consider yourself lucky if you’re there on firing days. It’s located on the main road, opposite of the village. It’s an enormous effort to fire up the large subterranean kiln—it must be made hot enough and then constantly fed and kept at a consistent temperature, each family takes turns working shifts round the clock. Firing from start to finish takes ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Ban Chan pottery village
Around 3.5km downriver from Luang Prabang

Location map for Ban Chan pottery village

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