The Ongteu Buddha statue in Khoun district, the main cultural icon of Xieng Khuang province.

What’s your opinion of the development of tourism in Xieng Khuang?

Xieng Khuang province lies in the northeast of Laos and has an abundance of tourist attractions including many of historical interest. The province is working to improve all aspects of tourism and Vientiane Times recently paid a visit organised by the Tourism Marketing Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, to talk to local authorities, tour operators and residents about the progress made in developing tourism.

Mr Sivilay Oudomsouk, deputy head of the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism in Xieng Khuang province: Xieng Khuang has great potential for the development of tourism as it has lots of attractions, many of cultural and historic interest. Tourism has developed quite a lot and we get more visitors than in the past. The main attraction here is the Plain of Jars. We have organised lots of activities to promote tourism and advertise our attractions. This year, every district held special events to mark Visit Laos Year. The province promotes tourism alongside cultural preservation and environmental protection. We also ensure the safety of visitors and are improving our services. We are training tourism personnel and involving more local people, encouraging them to welcome visitors and be good hosts. Roads leading to the main tourist attractions have been improved and festivals are being organised by various ethnic groups. We are also encouraging villagers to make handicrafts for sale to visitors. We will continue to make improvements and develop and open new sites, and try to source more investment to finance the development of tourist sites. Right now we’re preparing for the many people who will come here next year for the National Games.

Mr Phousavanh Vorasin, Head of the Heritage Division, Department of Information, Culture and Tourism: Xieng Khuang has an abundance of tourist attractions and they have been improved year by year. The most outstanding is the Plain of Jars, which has large stone vessels scattered around several districts. They are interesting and worth seeing in order to learn about the history of the former ancient kingdoms of Laos. We partner with other provinces to promote tourism. The number of visitors has increased and generated a lot of income for local people. We have a pleasant climate here and it’s quite comfortable for most of the year. It’s a good place to relax, and we have our own special cuisine as well as handicrafts and weaving villages. We have areas of scenic beauty as well as places of historical and cultural interest. There’s also plenty of accommodation and restaurants. There are skilled guides to lead visitors and more will be employed if the Plains of Jars is a listed as a world heritage site soon, as we hope. So I urge everyone to visit us and check out what we have to offer. If you go to the Plain of Jars, make sure you follow the rules so that the site is preserved and not damaged in any way.
 
Mr Kenchan Sithanonxay, a resident of Khoun district: Our district has many places of cultural interest. Like other districts, many of the tourist attractions here have been improved and are more enjoyable than before. We have several interesting temples and historical sites. The most popular is the old Vat Phia temple where the grand Ongteu Buddha statue is housed. It’s interesting for its long history. The statue is sacred and people who visit it make prayers. Visitors can also learn about the history of the ancient Phuan Kingdom which had an advanced civilisation. Vat Phia temple, That Foun stupa, and That Chomphet stupa have connections to the Phuan Kingdom. They were destroyed in wartime but were renovated and are now well protected. Tourism in Xieng Khuang is much more developed than in the past. Today the province has roads connecting to other provinces and shares a border with Vietnam so we get more visitors from those places. In the future we hope that Xieng Khuang will be a centre of tourism both nationally and regionally.

Mr Yonglee Lorbriayao, an operator in Nonghet district: There are many interesting tourist attractions in our province. Each district has its own places of interest such as the Plain of Jars, caves, waterfalls, and hot springs. I hold a concession for Tham Savanh Phayanak cave which is one of the main tourist attractions in this district. I advertise this cave on social media and it’s better known now. I think Nonghet has developed visitor attractions well and is trying to facilitate visitors in as many ways as possible. Roads in particular are better than before. To please and satisfy visitors, we have trained staff working at tourist facilities, hotels and restaurants in service skills. We plan to make more improvements so that we attract more foreign visitors, especially those near the border with Vietnam. So we are hopeful we will get more visitors in the future. I urge both Lao people and foreigners to visit our province especially Nonghet district, because we have something different from other districts.

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update December 28, 2018)


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