Lost In Laos (Part 2) - Hill Tribe Villages

2:34 PM

My third day in Laos was probably my favourite among all the other days, even though it was the most exhausting. We got up pretty early and made our way to the different tribe villages up in the hills.

It wasn't a very long van ride, but it was so funny cause one of our vans (the van I was in) actually broke down halfway up the hill?? And then for a moment, some of the guys and the guide had to push the van up the slope while the rest of us caught it on video. It was definitely one of the memorable moments of this trip.
Thankfully though, the drivers managed to start up the engine again after pulling a dangerous stunt that could have the whole van sliding off the cliff, so we went on foot for only a short distance.

I think that this is the photoset that I'm most pleased with too. There's just something about capturing people in their living spaces, and how their raw emotions gives you more than just a glimpse of their story.

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We went to about six villages to visit their different ethnic groups in Laos. There was the Hath Hient Village, where we came across some of the villagers who were shaping metals and making knives. We also went to Ban Pickngai (home to the Yuan ethnic minority), Ban None Tan and Ban Kok Wan (home to the Khmu), Ban Bo Hae, Ban Tha Qui and Ban Kok Muang (which are also known as the Hmong villages).

I don't actually remember all the names of the villages I've been to because their names were so hard to remember... So thank god for the printed itinerary. But, I do remember a village or two because of the experiences I had during my short time there.

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At the Ban Bo Hae Village, I met these bunch of children who were so excited to be in front of the camera, even though most of the kids I met before were mostly shy. And I thought it was really endearing, the way they would giggle and get so thrilled after I showed them how the pictures of them turned out on screen (which says a lot since I don't really like children because of how annoying they can get... LOL).

I also met this man who was smoking what I believe is their Lao tobacco, through this huge bamboo pipe/tube called a bong. Apparently, most farmers and hill tribe people would smoke with a bong instead of cigarettes or rolling their own paper as it was more economical.

After asking for permission to take a couple of photos of him and his family, me and one of my friends tried to talk to him a little. Sadly, attempting to speak broken Lao was beyond my capabilities, so we settled with random hand gestures and exaggerated expressions.
But he was really nice, and I'm not sure if it's a tradition/custom that Hmong tribes in Laos follow, but he offered me and my friend their steamed sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaves, freshly made as the snack was still warm when we received them. He was so hospitable during our short time at their village.

It wasn't extravagant, but being offered food made by the villagers in their very homes was quite the true Lao experience.

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On the day of our visit, it also happens to be International Women's Day. Honestly, I didn't know of the existence of this day until well, this year. And apparently, it seems quite celebrated in Laos as a couple of businesses took a day off for the occasion, while some households had the women singing and drinking.
I remember some of us were actually offered beer at one of the villages by the women LOL.

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It was a long journey, moving from village to village and I was so exhausted by the time we arrived at the fifth one. Initially, I was kind of expecting the tribes to be dressed in some sort of traditional costume... But I guess there's no occasion for them to be donned as such. Or maybe they have moved on with the times too?

After another good dinner at Nisha's (their Indian curry is just sooooo good), most of us then headed to the night market (again). It's a must-go if you're in Luang Prabang.

Check out my other posts on Laos:
▶ Lost in Laos (Part 1) - Luang Prabang
▶ Lost in Laos (Part 2) - Hill Tribe Villages
▶ Lost in Laos (Part 3) - Kuang Si Waterfalls & Butterfly Park
▶ Lost in Laos (Part 4) - Lao Living Farm
▶ Lost in Laos (Part 5) - Xiang Men Village, Nam Khan & Mekong River

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