The Luang Namtha Welcoming Party

Akha handicrafts are easy to find in Luang Namtha

Author: Ryan Crossett
The Akha  people are a large ethnic group with populations in Lao, Thailand, Burma and China.  Here in Luang Namtha Akha women provide a service unlike any other.  They will give you the opportunity to shop for souvenirs while you are dining, visiting the night market or out walking.  They peddle an assortment of handicrafts including bracelets, belts, hats and bags.
Akha sales women in Luang Namtha

But you DO want a bracelet!

If you’ve never met an Akha woman, you are almost certain to when you visit Luang Namtha.  There’s even a good chance you’ll be welcomed to Luang Namtha by one as you climb out of your tuktuk.  However, if you don’t meet one right away, no need to go looking for them, they will come and find you.
Akha handicrafts are easy to find in Luang Namtha

Welcome to Luang Namtha; would you like a hat, belt or bag with that?

The Akha ladies employ a unique sales tactic, taking “don’t take no for an answer” to an all new level.  The reason they can do this is because they know what you want better than you do.  They break through any communication barrier using their universally understood sign language to make sure you don’t leave empty handed.
Akha woman in Luang Namtha

No means yes right?

At Bamboo Lounge Training Restaurant we have a special deal with the Akha saleswomen, no soliciting for free water and phone calls.  This has also given the staff here at Bamboo Lounge the chance to enjoy getting to know the local Akha saleswomen. They can be a lot of fun and may even bust a move if they like the music.
Elu queen of the Akha

Its all pleasure and no business for Akha at Forest Retreat Laos!

If you’re lucky, and you probably will be, there will even be a few ladies around to bid you farewell as you leave Luang Namtha to continue on your journey.  “Thank you for shopping with us!”
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