Khonphapheng waterfall viewing fee rises
The cost of entry tickets to Khonphapheng waterfall in Champassak province has risen, with the charge now being 20,000 kip for Lao nationals and 55,000 kip for foreigners.
A view of Khonphapheng waterfall in Champassak province. --Photo Phoonsab
The former prices were 10,000 and 30,000 kip respectively, according to the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.
The reason for the increase is to raise money to pay for improvements to the site.
In an interview with Vientiane Times yesterday, the department's Director Mr Bouathong Souvannasane said the matter was discussed at a recent meeting of the provincial People's Council.
“The hike in the entrance fee won't affect the number of visitors. More than 135,400 people visited the waterfall last year, generating billions of kip.”
Mr Bouathong said that with new facilities attracting more people, the department predicts that about 150,000 foreign tourists will have visited the waterfall by the end of 2017. This number would generate further billions of kip through the sale of entrance tickets.
In 2015, more than 90,000 foreigners visited the waterfall, generating revenue of around 2 billion kip, according to the department.
Based on increases in yearly visitor numbers, the department predicts that at least 150,000 overseas tourists will tour the waterfall by the end this year.
The number of local and foreign visitors has grown by 20-25 percent each year. Most come from Thailand and Europe, Mr Bouathong said.
He explained that visitor numbers had increased dramatically since road access was improved and an information centre and other facilities had been built or upgraded.
Khonphapheng waterfall is located on the Mekong River in the far south of Laos, near the border with Cambodia.
The falls are the largest in Southeast Asia and are the main reason that the Mekong is not fully navigable into China.
The river in this part of Laos is characterised by thousands of islands and countless waterways, giving the area its name Siphandone or ‘4,000 islands'.
Elsewhere, the entrance fee at the Vat Phou complex is now 20,000 kip for Lao nationals and 50,000 kip for foreigners. The former prices were 10,000 and 35,000 kip respectively.
About 110,000 visitors visited the temple ruins last year, generating billions of kip.
The temple complex was accepted for listing by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2001, following the listing of Luang Prabang as a World Heritage Site in 1995.
Before Vat Phou was listed by UNESCO, the number of overseas visitors stood at 9,000-10,000 annually, generating revenue of about 200 million kip, according to the department.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 12, 2017)