Laos is justifiably famous for its beautiful weaving traditions, and the capital, Vientiane, is dotted with small-scale weaving centres and tucked-away boutiques stocking fine examples of silk and cotton weaving work. While browsing, learn more about the importance of weaving to Lao culture ... and have the chance to shop.
Meet your guide in hotel reception at 8.30 am, for a tour briefing. Begin with a short visit to the Carol Cassidy weaving display centre. Set inside a beautiful colonial villa in the centre of town, this is one of the smartest boutiques in Vientiane, showcasing and selling designs from all over Laos. Carol has lived in Vientiane for many years and has been a tireless advocate for the promotion of Lao weaving skills. Her work and efforts have played a large role in making hand-woven Lao textiles become famous. At times of the day, you will see weavers in action, behind the back of the villa. Next, depart for the Nikone Weaving Centre, a short 15 minute drive. In an obscure location, the Nikone centre employs weavers of silk, cotton and a variety of other fabrics. On this visit you will either see the weavers working on looms, or spend time inside the boutique, which displays a sample of wares produced on site. The last of the three workshops you will visit is ‘Mai Savanh’, on the outskirts of town, and a half-hour drive. This fair–trade centre makes silk wares as well as tea, using Fair Trade sourcing and production principles - and it manages each stage of the production, marketing and distribution process. At the end of the morning, drive back to the city centre for a visit to Saoban boutique (note that opening hours can be variable), home to one of the best collections of quality finished woven products in the whole of Laos.