I visited Laos on a trip to southeast Asia in the 10's.
Lying in the broad river valley of the Nam La, Muang Sing is a flat, dusty grid of mostly unpaved streets with a modest sprinkling of historic buildings.*
Some older village women still wear elements of their traditional costumes, making for colourful people-walking.*
Traditional housing in Laos, whether in the river valleys or in the mountains, consists of simple wooden or bamboo-thatch structures with leaf or grass roofing. Among Lowland Lao, houses are raised on stilts to avoid flooding during the monsoons and allow room to store rice underneath, while the highlanders typically build directly on the ground.*
Lao classical music was originally developed as court music for royal ceremonies and classical dance-drama during the 19th-century reign of Vientiane's Chao Anou.*
The practice of classical Lao music and drama has been in decline for some time - 40 years of intermittent war and revolution has simply made this kind of entertainment of low priority among most Lao.*
The principal instrument in folk, and to a lesser extent in pop, is the khaen.*
An adept player can produce a churning, calliope-like dance music.*
Dancing is a big part of the rocket festival.
The town is a traditional Tai Lu and Tai Neua cultural nexus, plus a trade centre for Tai Dam, Akha, Hmong, Mien, Lolo and Yunnanese people, all who have villages nearby.*
Laos boasts over a dozen weaving styles across for regions. Southern weavers, who often use foot looms rather than frame looms, are known for the best silk weaving and for intricate mat-mii designs.*
The standard ensemble for Lao classical music is the sep nyai and consists of khawng wong (a set of tuned gongs), the ranyaat (a eylophone-like instrument), the khui (bamboo flute) and the pii (a double-reed wind instrument similar to the oboe.*
Generally, the only time you'll hear this type of music is during the occasional public performance of the Pha Lak Pha Lam, a dance-drama based on the Hindu Ramayana epic.*
The khden is a wind instrument made of a double row of bamboo-like reeds fitted into a hardwood soundbox and made airtight with beeswax.*
When the khaen is playing, people dance the lam wong (circle performance) is the most popular folk dance in Laos.*
I watched the construction of a bridge by hand.
Tribal Tai in the northeastern produce yiap ko using raw silk, cotton yarn and natural dyes. In central Laos, typical weavings include indigo-dyed cotton mat-mii and minimal weft brocade. Northerners generally use frame looms the waist, body and narrow sin of a phaa nung are often sewn together from separately woven pieces.*
The practice of classical Lao music and drama has been in decline for some time -- 40 years of intermittent war and revolution has simple made this kind of entertainment a low priority among most Lao.*
Not so with Lao folk and pop, which have always stayed close to the people.*
The rows can be as few as four or as many as eight courses, and the instrument can vary in length from around 80cm to about 2m.*
Lam wong couples dance circles around one another until there are three circles in all: a circle danced by the individual, a circle danced by the couple, and one danced by the whole crowd.*
*These captions are from Laos -- Lonely Planet's travel guide.