Handmade Incense in Nakhangxang Village
Nakhangxang Village , located near the famous Buddha Cave (Tham Pa Fa) with over 200 Buddha images, is a major producer of handmade incense ordinarily sold to religious pilgrims visiting the cave. The incense is produced using materials obtained from nature, including the following main ingredients:
- The coconut tree leaflet is used for the stick itself.
- Crushed bark from a tree called yang bong (Nothaphoebe umbelliflora) is used as a sticking agent.
- Crushed bark from another tree called mai niem, is used to create fragrance as it burns.
The village also makes traditional bamboo/rattan tables. Although this item is likely too large to take with you, visitors can see how these popular tables are made.
Cotton Weaving & Crafts near Kong Lor Cave
Two villages, Ban Natan and Ban Kong Lor located on either ends of the amazing 7.5 km long Kong Lor Cave in Khammouane Province, produce handmade cotton weavings and bamboo crafts. Ban Natan is well known for its intricate cotton weavings that are dyed using natural colors. Visiting the village (which offers overnight homestay), one can see the weavers working to produce commonly used products such as towels, scarves and skirts. Kong Lor village (which also has homestay available) has a variety of bamboo household products such as scabbards, fish baskets and others. Some of these items can be adapted and used as flower holders, containers or wall decorations. You can visit these villages on your own (refer to the map) or with a package tour booked out of the Provincial Guide Service in Thakek or with any major tour company.
Bamboo Mouse Traps of Ban Phalem
For those taking the spectacular two-day trek through the Phou Hin Poun National Protected Area arranged by the Provincial Guide Service Unit, check out some of the unique crafts made from bamboo and natural materials in Ban Phalem village (where you stay overnight). One ingenious item crafted by the villagers is a nifty trap from bamboo for catching rats. Ask to see this gadget and the villagers will teach you how to use it. Also in the village are bamboo water baskets, sealed with a natural resin produced by the Nyang tree and resin produced of the Keesee tree. These fascinating crafts provide a good example of the use of natural materials. Book your tour to Ban Phalem through the Provincial Guide Service Unit in Thakek.