Women of most ethnic groups wear traditional dresses that they embroider, sometimes even weave and sew themselves. Akha women in particular are very skilled and embroider beautiful and colourful patterns, often adding pearls, pompoms, coins, shells, seeds. The Tourism Office, supported by GIZ (German Government’s Development Agency), and in collaboration with Luang Prabang Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and the Akhabildjo! association, support Akha women in some of its homestay villages to develop handicraft products. Selling handicraft generates additional incomes to remote villages, promotes and helps to maintain traditional skills and makes the women proud of their culture and knowledge. These products can be bought directly in the villages (for example Samakhisay village), at Phongsaly Tourism Office, at TAEC Museum or Matesay fair trade shops in Luang Prabang.
Other Phongsaly’s handicraft products include the creative and colourful Akha dolls, animals and necklaces, sold at Akhabiladjo! shop in Boun Neua and Phunoy and Akha Oma bags, available at different shops in Phongsaly. Phunoy’s bamboo hats are also typical from Phongsaly. In Muang Khua, the Ethnic Handicrafts Shop (at Chaleunsuk Guest house) sometimes sells unique handicraft products made in the surrounding villages.
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