Xieng Khouang Attractions: Mulberries Organic Silk Farm
10/01/2018 663 Views 0 Comments Brian Vu
Located in a huge high plateau at the northeast of Laos, Xieng Khouang is an attractive spot for many travelers who would like to discover the beauty of “Land of a Million of Elephants”. Like other notable destinations of Laos, Xieng Khouang offers tourists not only interesting activities but also unmissable sights. Beside the Plain of Jars, the most famous location of this province, Mulberries Organic Silk Farm is also the one that must be recorded in your list before travelling to Xieng Khouang.
How to Get There?
The farm is in Phonsavan district, Xieng Khouang. The fastest and most comfortable way to get there is by plane since there is Phonsavan Airport which is 5 kilometers south of the main town and can be reached from Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
However, to save money, you can choose one of buses from Vientiane, which takes up 12 hours. Buses also run from Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, Sam Neua, Paksan, Muang Khoun, and Muang Kham, but with different taken-up time.
Where to Stay?
Accommodation in Phonsavan is scattered throughout the town but the best guesthouses for foreign tourists are all situated in the east of the main intersection along the main road and just off it. Besides, it is recommended to check some of the hotels on the back streets as they are more willing to negotiate on price. Some good guesthouses and hotels are Lieupi Mixay Guesthouse, Sabaidee Guest House, Anoulack Khen Lao Hotel, and Jennida Guest House.
What Makes Mulberries Organic Silk Farm Special?
The farm that was established as a research and model silk farm in 1993 aims at reviving and encouraging the Lao tradition silk fiber production by providing training and support in silk worm rearing, art and craft practices of weaving. Moreover, it helps to enhance income of the families in the surrounding areas. Today, the cooperative includes 3,000 farmers, weavers and artisans from 200 village families. Another important duty of this non-profit organization is to protect environment and natural resources for the next generation by growing their own chemical-free mulberry trees. In addition, plants including indigo and tamarind are cultivated close to the dye room to make natural dyes which produce deep and rich color for silk products.
Once the thread is spun, it is given to village women who will weave them at home in their free time. Then, they will have chance to attend workshops and learn how to make and use natural dyes and the complex art of turning traditional designs into their creations. When the products are finished, the silk farm buys back them to sell in their gift shops here and in Vientiane.
What to Do?
You can observe the whole silk-making process and try to participate in one stage right here in the house. Or if you are lucky enough, you may meet Miss Kommaly, who will tell you how she started this environmental-friendly cooperative 20 years ago. Her tiredless work to empower local women and ethnic minority groups by raising their incomes through weaving helped her earn the 2005 nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Additionally, you can buy some silk products for your friends and family as gifts at mulberries shops. There are a lot of beautiful plain silk scarves in various colors, patterns and fabrics for you to choose but you can order some patterns and home furnishing fabrics that you want.
To wrap up, Mulberries Organic Silk Farm is a worthwhile place to for anyone who are interested in yarn or fabric. Every product here is filled with the dedication to the revival and survival of Lao silk production. Consequently, to understand more about this South East Asian country’s culture, a visit to the farm is very worth trying.