Fascinated with silk? Enthralled by the colorful woven dress of the Easterners? Well then why not experience the East in the Ock Pop Tok Living Craft Centre in Luang Prabang? The Ock Pop Tok or “East Meets West” in English is the place to be if you love silk and brightly colored woven clothing.
Located roughly two kilometers South of Luang Prabang and set in a beautiful garden near the banks of the Mekong River, the Ock Pop Tok Living Craft Centre is where you’ll find the most skilled weavers in Luang Prabang creating some of the finest silk in the world. With the center operating as a weaving school, the century-old tradition of weaving passed down from generation to generation was kept alive through their various classes offered to all willing to learn the craft. The lessons are not limited to silk weaving, mind you. They offer cotton fabric weaving, bamboo weaving, silk dying, batik making and all kinds of textile weaving. The style is traditional and portrays Lao-Tai people’s weaving background and culture, which can be traced back to 8 A.D.
Aside from the weaving class, which you can join even as a tourist, there are also other activities that you can enjoy in the center. For instance, a tour of the facility is also offered where you’ll not only see the country’s weaving artisans at work, or students learning the craft, but also learn more about silk and textile weaving. You could literally spend the whole day here! Or spend the morning learning about weaving and relax in the Mekong garden café in the afternoon.
Some of the activities that they offer visitors include the following:
- Talks and Seminars. Everything you want to know about silk and weaving, you can ask here. Small private groups are accepted for seminar booking. After the seminar, you’ll never have to worry again if you’re buying a real silk or a fake one.
- Cultural Exhibitions. The Luang Prabang culture is explained through a gallery of textiles and various techniques used in weaving.
- Weaving Classes. Learn how to weave like a local. Use local materials and create your own silk scarf. You can learn it all here!
- Workshops. An interactive workshop that will guide you in dyeing your own scarf, teach you weaving techniques and educate you about silkworms.
- Bamboo Weaving Classes. Half day or whole day weaving classes are offered on bamboo weaving. You’ll learn how to weave a basket, hat, fan and all kinds of crafts made of bamboo woods.
Operating Hours: The center is open daily from 9:00 A.M. till 5:00 P.M., except during national holidays.
How to get there: The Ock Pop Tok Living Craft Centre is near the Phousy Market, just 50 meters away from it. After you passed this market, just watch out for the yellow Ock Pop Tok sign on the road. Free tuk-tuk transports are available to and from the center at 10:00 A.M., 12:00 N.N. and 2:00 P.M. It is a 5-min ride in tuk-tuks, 10 minutes in bicycles and 15 minutes on foot.