If you have a few hours to spare in Luang Prabang, we really recommend you check out the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Museum on Kitsalat Road behind Dara Market on Phou Si Hill. It is a wonderful place to spend a few hours learning about Lao Heritage, Dating, Wedding and Marriage Traditions.
The Traditional Arts & Ethnology Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm. As with most museums and art galleries in Laos, this museum is closed on Mondays. Entry fee is 20,000 Kip per person. Lao citizens and children under 12 are free. Both the cafe and the museum shop are accessible without a ticket purchase.
Once you have bought your entry ticket, you can wander through a number of very interesting exhibition stands and stalls that tell you all about the dozens of different ethnic groups that make up modern day Laos. Here you can see the traditional fashions of the major tribes as well as examples of other items. For example, the "Handmade Bedding Materials" exhibition, which recreates a traditional Tai Dam bedroom including a handmade mosquito net. Outstanding hand sewing!
Beyond the cultural exhibitions, you will find a special exhibit called "From Courtship to Kinship: Wedding Celebrations of Laos’ Ethnic Groups". The Traditional Arts & Ethnology Museum shares insight into the distinct courtship, wedding, and marriage tradition of the Lao people. You have to be quick though, this special exhibition is only available for viewing until September 2012. I hope it is there for longer. It is worth viewing.
This exhibition is totally amazing. Being able to experience something so rare through the use of videos, words, photographs, artwork and unusual artefacts. Beautiful!
From the Courtship, Wedding and Marriage Exhibition, you can make your way through to the shop selling lovely local handicrafts. Bags, bedding, clothing, and toys. We bought ourselves the little guy shown below who we have creatively named Bat Doll! The museum also has a lovely cafe where you can sit and have a coffee and a piece of cake. Both the shop and the cafe are accessible without buying a museum ticket.
We really enjoyed this museum visit and are happy to tell a lot of people about it. Whether they want to hear it or not... Enjoy 🙂
Luang Prabang's Traditional Arts & Ethnology Museum's website - http://taeclaos.org/