The people of Ban Chan (‘pottery village’) have been using traditional methods to make pottery for centuries. The story goes that the first king of Laos, back in the 16 th century, held a big celebration after winning a battle. He asked different villages to bring different things to the party. He requested the people of Ban Chan bring clay pots. Now, many, many generations later, the families of Ban Chan still carry on this tradition – pulling the clay from the earth on-site and using their hands to create beautiful vessels.


In ancient times, Laotian people used pottery for all kinds of purposes at home and in the fields. They needed strong, waterproof jars to store food, drinks such as rice alcohol or to keep rice dry and away from humidity and mice. By visiting this village you will learn the story of pottery in Laos, its role in daily life and how these jars are made, as well as the different shapes that the potter can transform the clay into. A short walk along the Mekong will allow you to visit Wat Chompet, a temple located 2km away, just in front of Wat Xieng Thong.


By going to this village you truly take part in responsible tourism, as you will first have to use the services of a local boatman to cross the Mekong River; the village being located on the opposite shore, far away from the mass tourism streets. Then you will walk through this small village to meet locals and you can buy their wares directly from them – a small jar, a clay bottle or a small pot usually used to crush ingredients added to the famous papaya salad. Don’t go only to watch them, leave a positive impact, not just tracks and footprints! You can also buy a big jar that you may wish to have shipped home ?


You will find Ban Chan just 4 kilometres from the boat pier at Chomphet, which makes it an easy bike ride away. Once you enter the village, turn right at the T-intersection and you’ll find the pottery site 100 metres on the right hand side of the dirt road. There’s a boat pier at Ban Chan, which means that if you feel weary after walking or riding, you can always load yourself and your bike onto a boat and head back to Luang Prabang.