Textiles and Handcrafts of Laos
7-16 May, 2018

Laos collage

Join our small group of like-minded textile-enthused women for this exciting trip to beautiful Laos.   We’ll visit textile galleries, public museums and private textile collections as well as undertaking hands-on workshops in weaving, natural dyeing, batik, traditional embroidery and paper-craft. Several of the included handcraft programs are offered by non-government organisations that support marginalised and underprivileged groups.  Cultural activities we’ll enjoy include visits to some of the major temples, markets and other significant sites. Travelling through parts of rural Laos will enable us to explore magnificent natural scenery and artisan villages of some of Laos’ 50+ ethnic groups in addition to experiencing traditional Lao culture and sampling some of the most delicious food that south-east Asia has to offer.

This 10 day/9 night women’s textiles tour is hosted by retreat|recreate and will be fully escorted by an English-speaking local guide. Commencing with 6 days in the province of Luang Prabang, Northern Laos, we’ll spend 4 of these days exploring the former royal capital and ancient city of Luang Prabang.  This UNESCO World Heritage city is located on the junction of the Nam Kham and Mekong Rivers, and with 33 gilded temples (Wats), is rich in both history and natural beauty.

We’ll watch the daily early morning procession of saffron-clad monks receiving alms, visit some of the major temples, textiles galleries and artisan studios, and learn about the process of silk growing, traditional motifs and the diverse textiles of Laos’ ethnic groups. There is a range of weaving and dyeing methods used in Laos, and while in Luang Prabang, we will undertake hands-on workshops in traditional weaving and Hmong embroidery. We’ll also attend a cultural performance showcasing Lao folktales, legends and music, and shop at Luang Prabang’s famous night market and its numerous textile boutiques.

An overnight side-trip will take us out of the city into the spectacular rural landscape, where we’ll visit a number of villages inhabited by various ethnic groups. We’ll participate in a traditional Baci (welcome ceremony), learn about the local traditions, agricultural activities and Buddhist culture and observe skilled cotton and bamboo weavers at work. During a dyeing workshop in one of these villages we will learn about the local recipes for natural dyes.

Leaving Luang Prabang, we’ll fly to Vientiane where we’ll spend the rest of the tour. As well as exploring Laos’ significant cultural and religious sites, we’ll visit a number of fair trade non-government organisations that provide vocational training and support particularly to women. We’ll take hands-on classes in paper-craft and Hmong batik, visit a private textile museum, meet the locals at a nearby weaving village, browse colourful markets and enjoy all that Laos’ capital has to offer.

The itinerary is a full one to ensure value for money however some free periods are built in. The tour begins on Monday 7th May and ends on Wednesday 16th May, allowing guests to extend their time pre/post tour by a day or two if they wish to pursue additional activities (eg. more shopping, textile workshops, visiting the Elephant Conservation Centre, or myriad other cultural experiences such as palaces, museums, temples and galleries). A list of suggested shops, venues and activities will be provided to guests closer to departure. Our tour partner can also assist with pre and post tour accommodation and flights if required.


  • Local English-speaking guide throughout tour
  • Arrival airport transfer in Luang Prabang
  • Departure airport transfer in Vientiane
  • All tours, transport, accommodation, admission fees, workshops and activities listed in the itinerary
  • Meals as per the itinerary: 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Group flight from Luang Prabang to Vientiane as per the itinerary.


  • International airport departure tax
  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Early check-in and late check out at hotels
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Tips for leaders, guide and driver
  • Expenditure of a personal nature
  • Personal insurance
  • Optional activities
  • Fees associated with making payments to retreat|recreate

Things to note

  • the tour comprises 10 days/9 nights and operates from Monday 7th May until Wednesday 16th May, 2018.
  • The opportunity exists to extend your trip by extra nights at our hotels in Luang Prabang before the tour and in Vientiane after the tour;
  • airport transfers may not be included in the price if you book pre/post tour accommodation at hotels other than those used in the tour;
  • retreat|recreate strives to offer culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable tours. To this end, we: engage local guides; partner with a wholesale tour operator whose values align with ours; patronise organisations that return all profits directly to their local community; support fair trade and non-government organisations providing vocational training, experience and rehabilitation to disadvantaged groups and communities.  The tour price also includes a carbon offset.
  • retreat|recreate’s tours are offered in partnership with a fully licensed, globally recognised and well-resourced tour operator for your (and our) peace of mind;
  • the final detailed itinerary with locations and venues will be provided upon booking;
  • our Luang Prabang and Vientiane hotels are approximately 3-3.5 star standard. We also stay one night in a rural guesthouse where rooms have ensuite bathrooms, ceiling fans and mosquito nets.
  • single rooms are not available at the guest house accommodation on Day 4;
  • please consider your mobility/fitness levels when booking. The tour comprises travel on private coach, river boats, a domestic flight and walking;
  • our group size is approximately 12 women;
  • your retreat|recreate host for this trip will be Susan Keeble
  • retreat|recreate welcomes women from all over the globe – all ethnicities,  backgrounds, beliefs and cultures.  We welcome women of diverse sexualities and those who identify as women,   Flexibility and a sense of humour are encouraged when travelling as part of a group.

What our travellers had to say about this trip:

This was my second textile tour with retreat|recreate and it lived up to my expectations.  As with my first tour (Northern Vietnam), the itinerary was well researched and all details coordinated with the organisers, tour leader and tour company.  The group is kept small which allowed for everyone to share time together and be part of the hands on experiences at each of the activities planned each day.  Sharing the experience with other women who have a common interest in textiles and cultural heritage makes these trips very special.  Chris – Laos 2018 (and Vietnam 2017)

retreat|recreate took me on a fantastic tour to places I would otherwise not have visited with experiences I would not have otherwise have had.  It was a great way to experience Laos – its culture and its people – in both cities and the countryside through the shared medium of textiles.  The trip was meticulously researched and very organised, running smoothly despite a couple of last minute changes.  My fellow travellers were great company too!  Alison – Laos 2018