Ban XangHai

According to the elders and the heads of Ban Xang Hai, there had been scattered settlements in the area for a long time ago by people who lived on the natural resources in the region. Ban Xang Hai is flat and rich in soil, hence suitable for agriculture such as farming and animal breeding. Ban Xang Hai is one of the villages along the banks of the Mekong River which is rich in natural resources. Hence, many people settled in Ban Xang Hai and built their homes here. Over the centuries many people from other ethnic groups from different places gradually moved and settled in the village until nowadays. Ban Xang Hai was built in 1363. The villagers are mainly the ones who came from the Nong Sae Kingdom. They mostly have plantations for a living. The elders of Ban Xang Hai presumed that the first inhabitants of the village who started making pottery were Chinese. The pottery was used for keeping salt and as utensils in the kitchen. The pottery was later used as products for sale. According to the elders in the village, there were about 400 – 500 pottery kilns scattered in this area of Ban Xang Hai. Then Ban Xang Hai has become famous because of pottery and this is why it is named Ban Xang Hai or Pottery making village. Ban Xang Hai had only 10 – 15 families originally. Over the years many people from other ethnic groups moved down to earn a living in this village and to stay together. The inhabitants had ideas to create some products for sales. The farmers had a discussion together about what they should do to produce pottery for trading. The sands was of high quality which was suitable for pottery. The villagers from Ban Xang Hai hence built pottery kilns and made pottery production their main industry. But unfortunately, there are no pottery kilns or pottery industry in Ban Xang Hai anymore. Some traces of the pottery kilns in Ban Xang Hai are left. The so-called juice jar (Hai Nam Yoy) was the village’s signature product in ancient times. Ban Xang Hai is adjacent to Pak Ou village to the north, with the Agricultural College to the south, Xueang River to the east and the Mekong River to the west. The village has a total area of 2,126 hectares. Ban Xang Hai belongs to Pak Ou District. It is 11 kilometers from the town of Pak Ou and 22 kilometers from the town of Luang Prabang. There are 127 families in Ban Xang Hai, with a population of 615 people, among which 297 are women. 126 families are of Lao background and one is Khmu (statistics 2016). There are 85 shops selling handicrafts and 22 selling Lao whiskey (liquor). Lao whiskey is produced in 18 places. Besides this, Ban Xang Hai owns 42.07 hectares of forest, of which 12.5 hectares is protected forest area, 29.57 hectares used forest area, 62.6 hectares are teak plantations and 16 hectares of rubber. Currently, the main industry of Ban Xang Hai is liquor production and textile weaving. The distance from Ban Xang Hai to Ban Pak Ou and Pak Ou Buddha cave is 5 kilometers. Most tourists choose to combine Ban Xang Hai in their itinerary to Pak Ou. International tourists are drawn to visit the village for its traditional souvenirs, farming, fishing, weaving and Lao whiskey production. Tourists can take a walk in the village to experience its unique culture and traditions.