Drone Video of a Hill Tribe Village in Northern Laos

Last spring, I was able to travel with La Vaiyakone of Soap4Life through several hill tribe villages in Northern Laos. Soap4Life is is a small hands-on humanitarian organization dedicated to improving hygiene, developing economic opportunities for impoverished families and developing a path for women’s empowerment through making soap. To get to these places we traveled by bus, tuk-tuk, songthaew, motorcycle, the back of pickup trucks walking tractors and hiking to remote areas where La was selecting candidates for soap making and business classes.

My Drone and Backpack on the Back of a Motorcycle

My Drone and Backpack on the Back of a Motorcycle

I agreed (asked) to come along because I wanted to see a part of the country I had never seen before, meet some amazing people and hopefully make some amazing photographs that Soap4Life could use on their websites and in other promotional material. I was also asked to bring along my camera drone to get some aerial photos and video shots of the villages. This is video from Ban Na Thui in Phongsali, La’s home village, and one of the most remote places we visited on the trip.

Hill Tribe Children in Northern Laos

The Kids Were a Little Wary at First of the Tall Westerner

I think you can tell from the footage that Ban Na Thui is set atop a very steep mountain top. To reach the village you can either walk up eight miles from the nearest paved road, or take a motorcycle along twisty roads so steep that it is often necessary to slip off the back and walk up the most extreme grades. Because the road is so narrow and the grade are so steep everything in the village is either carried up by hand or on the back of motorcycles because four wheeled vehicles are too big for the road.

Hill Tribe Children in Northern Laos

Eventually They Started Warming Up to Me

I made video for every village we visited, but this is the first one I have edited. One of the best things about making these shots was that no one here had seen anything like a drone before and they were fascinated seeing their village from the air. In addition to the drone video, I have also included some shots from around the village and of La’s soap making demonstration. I think Soap4Life is a great organization and I really appreciate the simple, but vital role they are taking in this impoverished part of the world. We are currently planning another trip to the area and I am sure there will be more stories and of course more photographs coming soon.

I made the video using  a DJI Phantom 2 Drone

La Giving a Soap Making Demonstration

La Giving a Soap Making Demonstration

Old Man Inspecting the Soap

Old Man Inspecting the Soap

Grandfather Caring for His Granddaughter

Grandfather Caring for His Granddaughter

Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones
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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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