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Ban Kok Phung Tai and Captain Hook’s tour

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Just after the border from Salavan into Sekong Province, Katu village Ban Kok Phung Tai has been put on the traveller map by Mr Hook aka “Captain Hook” and his tour which delivers fascinating insight into the Katu way of life.

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Long after we rode away from the village, our heads were still spinning at the incredible things we learned about the people, beliefs, customs and culture of this ethnic group. The Katu (also spelled Cotu, Katou, Ca Tu, Kado) belong to the Mon-Khmer language family and are found in Sekong, Salavan and Savannakhet province, as well as in Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue provinces of Vietnam. They are animists and as Captain Hook guides you through his rural village and farmlands, he explains how the spirit world, shamans and religious rites play an important role in their life and actions.

Captain Hook explains coffee. Photo taken in or around Ban Kok Phung Tai and Captain Hook’s tour , Sekong, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Captain Hook explains coffee. Photo: Cindy Fan

It’s important that visitors come with an open mind. Hook speaks eloquently and matter of factly, and answers questions patiently—no question seems taboo. Some customs like teeth filing and tattooing have died out, while polygamy remains common practice. The entire family lives in one big longhouse, which doesn’t seem big at all when you consider that the largest house in this village has 69 people! Hook himself has 34 people living in his house.

The deep connection the Katu have with the land and nature is evident, as Hook shows a wide variety of plants used for medicine—there is a plant for every kind of ailment, a plant that can be used for shampoo, even a plant used to whistle a signal for your sweetheart.

Bamboo tea and coffee filters. Photo taken in or around Ban Kok Phung Tai and Captain Hook’s tour , Sekong, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Bamboo tea and coffee filters. Photo: Cindy Fan

Tours are informal—just show up and hopefully he is there. If he is already on a tour, wait, enjoy a cup of homegrown organic coffee brewed with ingeniously handcrafted bamboo filters or try some Katu food (20,000 kip). Tours are a one and a half hour walk around in a small group (15,000 kip ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Ban Kok Phung Tai and Captain Hook’s tour
Road between Ban Beng and Paksong (10.5 km south of Ban Beng), Sekong Province
T: (020) 9893 0406

Location map for Ban Kok Phung Tai and Captain Hook’s tour

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