Ban Muang Khum is a traditional Lao Loum village located on the west bank about thirty minutes upriver from Luang Prabang. The local villagers of Ban Muang Khum rely primarily on agriculture and some fishing to sustain themselves. Uniquely, they are also known for harvesting and producing Khaiphan “riverweed”. A delicious snack traditional to Laos, in particularly Luang Prabang.
Khaiphan is fresh water algae that grows naturally in Mekong river tributaries. The algae is collected from rocks along the riverbeds when water levels are low. Consequently, this makes Khaiphan a seasonal treat during the dry season.
Later, it is washed and set out to dry for approximately a day and then pounded and formed into sheet seasoned with a mix of garlic, sesame seeds, spring onions, tomatoes, galangal and other condiments. The preferred method of cooking Khaiphan is to flash fry it, producing a crispy and delicious snack.
Overall, Ban Muang Khum can be a great option for visitors who don’t have a a lot of time but want to get out on the river for a couple hours and into a local village. In addition, Ban Muang Khum is on route to Pak Ou caves and can be easily combined into the cruise.