Sustainability at Amantaka

A spiritual celebration of Luang Prabang’s distinct culture and Unesco-protected heritage sharing a true flavour of Laos

Time in Luang Prabang naturally encourages its visitors to slow down and show respect for this unique World Heritage Site. Here, where the sun sets over forested mountains, in the beguiling land of the lotus eaters and ornate Buddhist wats (temples), Aman's historic garden estate is the ideal base to engage with Laos' deep spirituality, and rich culture.


Contemplative and connected

It has always been Aman's approach to truly connect to the communities closest to Aman properties. In Luang Prabang, which is known for its 30 golden-spired temples and hundreds of monks, Amantaka is deeply connected to the monastic community and its Buddhist values. Guests are invited to engage more significantly with these spiritual students at Wat Pha O, the Buddhist Academy, where the monks provide a free education for local boys from farming families. It’s a rare privilege to take a private tour or meditation session when there are only about 250 monk novices who live and study here. Pilgrimages are organised by the Buddhist Heritage Project, part of the Buddhist Sangha, with special celebrations arranged for guests of Amantaka who have been keen to make significant donations towards the construction and upkeep of the academy.  

Training the next generation

Hospitality careers are sought after in Luang Prabang. Students who join Amantaka are paid as trainees, and as part of their placement, they also gain greater awareness which is invaluable training in the ways of the wider world. Since Laoians are mostly taught in local languages, Amantaka's team teaches English skills and passes on international knowledge that will support the community in skills needed for employment. Amantaka is also proud to support the Association of the Blind, offering the services of two visually impaired therapists who are celebrated for a heightened sense of touch.


Supporting schools

In a part of the world where there is no free education, and there is a charge for kindergarten, primary, middle and high school for all students, many families are subject to financial pressure. On top of this come the costs of uniforms and learning supplies. The team raises awareness around these challenges through guest engagement, and Amantaka takes meals to nearby schools several times a year. An institution especially appreciated is the Luang Prabang Special Education School, a boarding school for children who are deaf and mute. Guests of Amantaka have been inspired to support these important initiatives. One Amantaka guest continues to donate catfish for the pond at a school, which provides a food supply, and is an important source of nutrition.  

Supporting local

Social-impact souvenirs

Amantaka supports a local hospital for children through its boutique thanks to the sale of hand-crafted elephant toys, which fund the charity. The story behind these gifts is very important and when information is provided to Aman's visitors, they are keen to learn more, and support the hospital. When guests waive a full change in bedlinen, a donation is made to Laos-Friends Hospital of Luang Prabang, a free hospital for children under 15.  

Small-scale suppliers 

Organically-grown produce is sourced from Living Land, a social enterprise which employs underprivileged people. All the green trimmings from Amantaka’s gardens are also composted at the farm, which results in a more circular way of being. A farm-to-table philosophy prevails, with produce and vegetables purchased otherwise from the local market, with a significant reduction in the amount sourced from further afield.   

Coffee and honey are among the ingredients sourced super-locally and all of the fish bought comes from the Mekong fisherfolk. Saffron Coffee is one hero brand; born to establish a cash crop for hill tribe villagers in northern Laos, who in the early 2000s could not rely on the now outlawed opium harvest for much of their income and livelihood. This sees shade-grown Arabica coffee becoming a pathway out of poverty and into greater freedom of choice for the Hmong, Yao (Mien), Gasak and Khmu villages. 


Celebrating everyone’s New Year

There are four ethnolinguistic families in Laos, with two-thirds of the population speaking Lao-Tai, and the other third uses the languages of the Mon-Khmer, Sino-Tibetan and Hmong-Ew-Hmien families, revered as the Indigenous peoples of Laos. Amantaka is mindful of honouring the nuances of all its native cultures and invites guests to celebrate the different new year dates recognised by different ethnic communities, with Lao New Year generally celebrated in April, and the Khmu community celebrating between December and January.  

Promoting a deeper connection with local culture   

Aman is always an ambassador for its destinations, and with this in mind, a favoured gift from the Amantaka team is the book A Walk Through the Heritage of Luang Prabang by Francis Engelmann. Visits to the Buddhist Archive of Photography are encouraged, here overlooking Wat Khilli. The largest collection of monastic photography in Southeast Asia, it includes 35,000 historic photographs taken or collected by the monks of Luang Prabang over 120 years.  

Weather awareness 

The rainy season, like everywhere, is changing, and the weather patterns in Luang Prabang have become less predictable. The dry season has become longer and temperatures higher. Since the public spaces at Amantaka have very high ceilings and natural-breeze-ushering layouts, most of the year, only fans need to be used rather than air-conditioning, which also reduces energy use, a big consideration in climate action.