Disruptive Tourism

 On holiday in Laos I had heard of a blacksmith’s village outside Luang Prabang where blacksmiths still practiced traditional blacksmithing techniques.  Wanting to add to my collection of hand forged tools I went in search of the village, Ban Hat Hien, near the Luang Prabang airport.

After wandering around the village I found a blacksmith and also met a young Laotian who was escorting some travellers on a tour organised by Backstreet Academy  visiting the blacksmith. By working with local development NGO’s which find translators, and using a web platform Backstreet Academy   are able to link travellers with local artisans in villages. The travellers are able to get direction connection with an authentic artisan experience, the artisans and translators get fairly paid for their work, and the development NGO’s were able to get support.

I was able to order a high quality, custom made cooking knife/chopper from the blacksmith who was very pleased with his work because the steel used in the knife came from the spring of a European truck, which he considered was much better quality than the steel from a Chinese truck.


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