Making a difference at the Laos Homestay Village

Nestled on the banks of the mighty Mekong River in northern Laos sits the tiny village of Ban Pak Nguey, location of Stray’s Laos village homestay.

Over the past 3 years, this rural community has hosted Stray travellers from all over the world.

In 2016 alone, over 900 people strayed through the village, stopping overnight for an authentic homestay experience that many consider to be the highlight of their time in Southeast Asia.

Stray Asia Mekong River Homestay - Ban Pak Nguey village

This unique overnight experience sees Stray travellers journey by slow boat down the Mekong River to the banks of the secluded village, where they spend the afternoon visiting the local school, playing a competitive football match against the villagers or simply observing the daily routines of rural life in Laos. By far, the most memorable part of the village stay is the traditional Baci welcoming ceremony, a ritual in which the Elders offer prayers and symbols to welcome their guests and protect them when they leave to continue their travels.

Included in the cost of each traveller’s stay in the village is a monetary contribution to the village project fund, and we’re excited to share exactly where those contributions have gone.

In January 2017, Stray Asia Regional Manager Richard North and Operations Manager Sack travelled up the Mekong River by boat, a day’s journey each way, to personally deliver 1.2kms of water pipe to the Headman and Elders of Ban Pak Nguey village.

Stray Asia delivering water pipe to Mekong River Homestay via slow boat
Unloading the water pipes for the village

Close-up of the water piping contributed to Mekong River Homestay by Stray Asia

This pipe is Stray’s contribution towards securing a better water supply for the village and was paid for by the Stray traveller donations from the previous 12 months.

1.2km of water pipe in total!
Stray Asia Regional Manager Richard North with village elders
Regional Manager Richard North and Operations Manager Sack with the Headman and Elders

In 2016, Stray travellers partially funded the building of a new village community hall using the 2015 donations. The community hall is a focal point in the village setting and regularly used for official village meetings and many of the community celebrations.

Village community hall partially funded by Stray Asia travellers' contributions

Contributing to projects that benefit the village is a key part of ensuring that Stray gives back to the wonderful community that is giving so much to our travellers. One of Stray’s missions is to promote responsible travel and leave a positive impact on the places we visit.

Facts about Ban Pak Nguey

Population: 1200
Location: Northern Laos, between Houay Xai and Luang Prabang
How to get there: Stray travellers take a private slow boat down the Mekong River from Houay Xai.
Don’t miss: The traditional Baci welcoming ceremony!
Other highlights: A visit to the village school or football match to connect with the delightful and always curious local children.

Want more? Check out the Mekong River Homestay section of our Laos Travel Guide or read what it’s like to go swimming in the Mekong River at Ban Pak Nguey.

Want to visit Laos? Check out Stray Asia’s Laos Tours.

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Emily is a native creative nerd. This creative crew member's favourite stop is Bay of Islands.

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Melinda Stark
Melinda Stark
17 January 2020 5:59 pm

Wow! LOVE this initiative! So many times tourists would love to help make a difference but don’t have the right avenues to do so, well done Spray for helping to facilitate the right type of giving to make a serious impact!

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