Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre

Small but in-depth private museum

More on Luang Prabang

The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) is a private museum devoted to Lao ethnography. It is highly recommended for anyone interesting in learning about the country’s rich cultural diversity and ethnic groups.

Travelfish says:

TAEC has operated out of a restored heritage building on the slopes of Mount Phou Si since 2006. The permanent exhibition provides an overview of the four main ethnolinguistic families (Austroasiatic, Hmong-Yao, Tai-Kadai, Sino-Tibetan) and their distribution in the country before highlighting prominent groups within each, including the Akha, Hmong, Khmu and Yao Mien. Traditional clothing and headdresses, religious artefacts, photography and handicraft are on display. The exhibit is in English and Lao, with translations available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

Displays include traditional clothing and headdresses. : Cindy Fan.
Displays include traditional clothing and headdresses. Photo: Cindy Fan

There is also usually one special temporary exhibition that deep-dives into a fascinating subject. Past exhibition topics include the Katu, a group found in southern Laos, and Job’s tears, a grass seed used as beads, food and medicine in ethnic minorities across Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.

The museum has a collection of academic literature visitors are welcome to browse, a cafe serving drinks and a shop selling handicraft from the villages (with another shop on the main street). Check their Facebook page for special workshops, talks and community events. https://www.facebook.com/taeclaos/

Entrance is on the Kitsalat Rd side of Phousi, near Dara Market—follow the steep drive up. For those with mobility issues, be aware that there are several steps to enter the building.

Contact details for Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre

Address: Kitsalat Rd side of Phousi, near Dara Market, Luang Prabang
T: (071) 253 364;  
http://www.taeclaos.org/
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º8'9.6" E, 19º53'17.88" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 25,000 kip, free for Lao citizens.

Reviewed by

Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you'll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.

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