Situated on the banks of the Mekong this traditional village has seen little changes to its lifestyle in centuries. It is on the opposite bank to Luang Prabang and is accessed by a ten minute boat journey down the river. The name of the village is Ban Chan and locals here for years have specialized in the manufacture of pottery, bricks and roof tiles. Most of the buildings in the city have been built using building products manufactured here. The clay is collected locally, mixed and processed by the same families who have been applying this trade for generations.
The potters of course also manufacture pots, urns and figurines. These are of varying shapes and sizes and are considered to be of excellent quality. It takes the villagers 4 days to bring the ovens up to the correct temperature for firing the pots. Everyone in the village is involved. They operate a sort of relay system to fire the huge wooden beams needed to raise the temperature. When the correct temperature has been reached, the pots are loaded in and fired. Afterwards they are left to cool underground for several days.
It is a worthwhile trip and is developing responsible tourism in a direct way. Your journey their employs a local boatman, the villagers will sell small items and souvenirs that help them develop their village. People wishing to buy larger items can have those delivered home. Also close by is a local temple Wat Chompot. It all makes for a fascinating half day.