experience southern laos
Making Woven Rattan Rice Baskets
Making rice baskets or “kathip khao”, is an economic activity that adds to the income of village families across Laos. Sticky rice “khao niao” is traditionally served in these pretty woven baskets whose size can vary from a small individual basket to huge baskets used by the vendors of sticky rice in markets and along roadsides.
The sophisticated weaving technique requires patience and know-how and can take hours. The craftsman begins by cutting long rattan leaves which must then be soaked in water. Bamboo slats are used to create a frame to support the rattan and also for the lid of the rice basket. Then starts the meticulous work of braiding, folding, and sewing the rattan to finish the rice baskets.
In the shade of a house on stilts, you will enjoy the discovery of this traditional handicraft and the time spent with the Lao people in their wonderful countryside. Take breaks during your weaving to interact with the villagers who are sure to be curious and welcoming and will have fun watching your efforts. If you manage to string together a few words of Lao, they will be even more enthusiastic.
At the end of the activity, you can bring your rice basket with you, and if you wish, you can buy some extra ones from the villagers as a souvenir that symbolizes Laos particularly well Laos. You can also ask our chefs about cooking sticky rice when you get back to the hotel if you want to try to cook on your return home. If not, then simply us your basket(s) as a novel storage place for jewelry or pens for example.
Estimated time: 4-6 hours