Join Cynthia Le Count, textile author and expert on this adventure to Laos and Cambodia. This great trip includes lots of temples, three UNESCO sites, and even more textiles! Weavers in this area are famous for their glowing silk textiles. We fly into Bangkok, then head for Luang Prabang, Laos, the beautiful and laid-back former Royal Capital, and UNESCO World Heritage site. There we stay in a pretty guesthouse within easy walking distance of everything in town.
We'll stroll around the calm and pretty Luang Prabang, admiring and photographing the dozens of glittering Buddhist temples, visit the Royal Museum and climb Phousi Hill. We'll visit silk and cotton weavers in towns along our route and have an optional silk scarf-dyeing workshop in Luang Prabang. Then we head to Vientiane by private van, through the beautiful hill country of southern Laos; there we will visit several silk weaving workshops to observe their intricate and interesting methods.
Then continuing south in Laos, we head for Pakse to see interesting weavers and their traditional textiles, made by adding seed beads to the weft of the cloth they make. We will also visit the fabulous UNESCO World Heritage sight of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, flying into the interesting city of Phnom Penh. Then we drive to Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat. We spend two full days seeing the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom complexes; both enormous sites have hundreds of fascinating smaller stone temples and buildings, each one intricately decorated with carved stone reliefs, depicting epic myths, and life over a thousand years ago. Weavers in the Cambodian countryside make glowing silk ikat fabrics with intricate patterns; we will visit some of these talented women.
Then for the final highlight of the trip: the exciting Khao Phansa Festival, held on the full moon before the monks go for their annual retreat of meditation and study. Preparations for this festival are almost as interesting as the event itself. Designers and wax carvers begin months ahead to plan and create the most unusual and meaningful floats; there is a fierce competition among various groups to win prizes for Most Artistic Float, etc.
We will visit good friends who design and carve the wax figures for the floats. You can make merit in the Buddhist way, by cutting out some of the wax shapes to help the artists finish their creations! On festival day, floats with life-sized golden wax figures and flower decorations glide along the streets, interspersed with dancers and musicians in the parade through town. We will stay at a comfortable, modern hotel in the town of Ubon. We'll meet some silk ikat weavers around Ubon Ratchathani and have the opportunity to buy their intricately-patterned fabrics also.
Finally we return to Bangkok for our flights home. All in all this will be a fabulous trip, full of variety--welcoming people, beautiful temples, art and architecture, cozy hotels, and delicious food! Optional day in Bangkok extension available; ask for information and prices. All in all this will be a fabulous trip, full of variety-welcoming people, gorgeous textiles, beautiful sights, comfortable hotels, and delicious food!
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Laos Cambodia Thailand Artistry Textile Arts Cultural Journey
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