Contributed by Luang Prabang Handle with Care
Ban Nayang is a great new destination for travelers looking for an authentic village homestay experience in Luang Prabang Province. Just a two-hour drive from Luang Prabang town, Ban Nayang has been hosting a small stream of tourists for a while. They are attracted to the tranquility of pottering about the village, which is home to a number of weavers who are members of the Handmade in Luang Prabang program. Visitors are also lured by the breathtaking natural scenery which lends itself to trekking in the nearby vicinity.
Recently the village had a big boost with a Community-Based Tourism Workshop at Ban Nayang, focusing on the homestay product that they offer. Three CBT experts from the highly- regarded Community Based Tourism Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand, stayed in this village of 120 families. The goal was to learn about the potential for sustainable tourism and the expectations of the villagers.
With a great deal of experience in developing ASEAN CBT and Homestay Tourism standards, the Chiang Mai CBT veterans were able to apply their expertise, which has already been employed by Lao Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Luang Prabang Department of Culture and Tourism, as well as the GIZ and EU Switch Asia ‘Luang Prabang Handle with Care’ projects.
Ban Nayang shows distinct promise, but starts from a fairly low capacity and a low base. To turn the authentic experience of staying at a traditional house, eating food with the host, participating in the handicraft making process, learning about dyestuffs, spinning, and weaving into a business will take time. To develop this for the whole village and certify a standard takes years. Chiang Mai CBT Institute are helping them analyze and develop background for the next steps.
One thing is certain, all the villagers are highly enthusiastic. Visitors to Ban Nayang will receive a warm welcome. They can be sure of an authentic village experience in a setting already renowned for the exceptional quality of its handicraft tradition.