Handmade papers on my travels in Asia

Handmade mulberry style paper often features in my card making back home. So I am always keen to see the source of handmade papers whilst on my travels. Here are some of the destinations in Asia where I’ve found some lovely handmade papers.


The trees in Thailand persistently grow and regenerate after harvest so it’s an eco-friendly resource – surprising for Asia maybe.

The bark is soaked and boiled with wood ash, then it is pounded into pulp. This long fibered pulp solution is placed on a submerged screen then lifted out to dry. The resulting paper is strong, beautiful, and can be made to the required thickness and size.

Stunning hand painted paper umbrella

This is all done by hand – pretty impressive!

Check out my post Papercrafts in Thailand: Bo Sang for one of the best places near Chiang Mai where you can see handmade paper being produced.


Close to Luang Prabang there’s a whole area where they create handmade paper and a variety of other handmade crafts. You can find more details in my post Papercrafts in Lao: Ban Xang Khong. Even if you’re not a papercrafter like me, this is a great place for paper souvenirs or just to spend a few hours.

Sri Lanka

I’ve found a similar production process to making paper, which is used in the recycling of elephant dung.

Whilst in Sri Lanka in 2011, I visited an elephant orphanage which I can highly recommend for animal lovers. Here I saw the full production process for elephant dung paper; starting right from the point the dung is collected off the ground outside.

If you would like to read more about this visit do have a look at my post: A lot of elephants and temples.


In 2009 I visited Nepal and was overwhelmed by the number of shops, particularly in the capital – Kathmandu. There were many places that sold handcrafted paper items and the paper itself, in large sheets.

Nepalese Lokta Paper is made from the fiber of the “Nepal Paper Plant,” also called the Daphne Shrub or Lokta Bush. They often use beautiful bright colours in their paper – making it very distinctive.

A puppy admires the beautiful coloured powders

I was only in Nepal on a short trip so carried the appropriate container with me in order to take home the paper safely, and I still have quite a bit of it left in my craft stash now.

However, what Nepal lacked was the opportunity to see the paper being made. In both Lao and Thailand, I saw the production process from raw material through to finished products.

Do you like to get creative when you travel? I’d love to hear about what you get up to…

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