Ironically, it was the second time I’d taken Laos Tour Packages and come to Luang Prabang and little had I known such a beautiful weaving workshop like Ock Pop Tok. It was recommendations by my friends in Vientiane. They said that it was a very popular textile shop in Luang Prabang. The centre includes a free fair trade weaving workshop, a restaurant called Silk Road Café that serves Asian fusion fare and a villa nestled in a tranquil site overlooking the Mekong River. And to get the full Ock Pop Tok experience, I stayed a night at the villa.
Free Fibre2Fabric Tour in Ock Pop Tok
First of all, I will tell you about the FREE English Fibre2Fabric informational tour of the workshop. Doua (guide’s name) told us that Ock Pop Tok weaving centre was the collaboration of a Laotian weaver Veomanee Duangdala and English photographer Joanna Smith. Ock Pop Tok meant “East meets West” in Lao and feature weavers from various tribes here in Laos. Moreover, it had set up the Living Crafts Center precisely for people to come and view the weaving process. He also said that it was founders’ efforts to help visitors understand all that goes into crafting the intricate textiles of Laos.
Next, Doua explained the process of growing silk worms and making silk. He showed us the various natural products used to dye fabrics and led us through the weaving workshop, where the ladies from each tribe were weaving away on their handlooms. While the tour was short, the knowledge we received wass quite engaging and informative. Finally, the tour ended up with us staring over the shoulders of those visitors who had signed up for weaving, dying and batik classes. After that, I couldn’t help escape the eagerness to try working on a handloom. As a result, I registered, made “click clack” sounds and created my own Lao scarf.
This is why I lingered in Ock Pop Tok!
Most noteworthy, I spent a night in the spacious Hmong bedroom and had a very relaxing time. The villa was nicely decorated with tiny lines and colors that let the fabrics do all the talking. The rustic Lao charm showcased thanks to beautiful batik lines on the walls and throwing pillows. In addition, the room was open to a balcony overlooking the river. Therefore, this was the chance for anyone to comfortably sink into a mushroom chair, get some tea to sip and quietly staring the flowing water.
Due to breakfast came with the package, I woke up then walked through their garden next door to their beautiful riverside restaurant. The Silk Road Café served Lao and western fusion fare in a carefully-thought out menu and it’s open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. I sat down on a morning meal of eggs benedict with salmon, and lingered at the cafe to work remotely under the cool shade of the garden.
At lunch, I chose their special of that day named Khao Soi, a chicken dish in spicy coconut broth with veggies, bean sprouts, egg noodles. In deep down, I could not defer the fact that their food was indeed good.
In conclusion, although it’s out of town, the Ock Pop Tok centre is definitely worth a visit. Even though you just have a meal relaxing in a beautiful setting along the Mekong, stay a night at the villa, or take a fun and hands-on textile making class, it was really a great place to kick back and stay.
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