Ban Thin Hong is a small village nestled on the banks of the Mekong River in Northern Laos, just 1.5 hours from Luang Prabang and 30 minutes upstream from Pak Ou Cave. The village is home to approximately 300 people and unlike those villages on the opposite side of the river that are easily accessible, Ban Thin Hong remains less visited.
Its remoteness has enabled the village to retain its beautiful culture, heart-warming customs and ancient traditions – therefore if effectively managed, visiting clients can have a positive impact on their life. Working closely with the Lao National Tourism Authority and people of Ban Thin Hong, Destination Asia Laos developed a community based tourism project in 2015 to encourage a local partnership strategy. Visitors gain access to a stunning natural environment and experience the untouched culture of Laos, while residents generate a steady income through tourism. With the village headman’s approval, Destination Asia has trained local villagers as tourist guides, allowing them to show clients their village and explain customs.
By working alongside Ban Thin Hong Village we have been able to create sustainable community services, developing the confidence of villagers’ abilities to lead and work as a team. Our key objectives while developing the project have been to regulate access and visits to the village; aware that their integrity and way of life is not to be abused. This has also been managed by delivering fair income distribution for the villagers through a ‘Village Development Fund’ that receives ‘entrance fee’ payments from each visitor.