Tucked up a steep unpaved road off Setthathilat Road, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre provides an excellent introduction to Laos’s ethnic groups. The small exhibition displays beautiful clothing, household objects and religious artefacts to illustrate the history and way of life for the Akha, Hmong and Khmu people, among others. All of the items are attributed to their makers, and the information that runs alongside the displays is insightful and interesting. Particularly fascinating is the short documentary on Taoist ordination ceremonies, complemented by some beautiful ceremonial masks made from tissue-thin mulberry paper, which are worn on the top of the head in order that they can be seen by the gods. A small shop attached to the museum sells reasonably priced handicrafts, and the charming café is a good place to stop for a cup of Lao coffee.

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