When in Xayaboury, be sure to visit Ngeun district

Welcoming Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and images inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, Jewel of the Mekong.

If you’re visiting Xayaboury province, you should make every attempt to see the attractions in Ngeun district.
Situated in the north, Ngeun is one of 11 districts in Xayaboury province and has a large number of tourist attractions of historical and cultural interest, as well as some wonderful scenery.
Although not well known, the district has some stunning landscapes and great potential as a tourist destination.
Most of the people in this area belong to the Leu ethnic group and have their own dialect, which visitors should try to pick up. There is an international border crossing here because the district adjoins Nan province in Thailand.

Pha That Mathkham.

This writer recently visited the district and some of its iconic sites while taking part in a project to promote local attractions, organised by the Tourism Marketing Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Among the attractions are Pha That Mathkham, Siliboun-gneun temple, Huayting cave, Phorthaokhampan cave, Saodinchien, villages selling handicrafts and textiles, and a strawberry farm.
Pha That Mathkham and Siliboun-gneun temple are the area’s main cultural icons and are steeped in history. These religious sites will teach visitors about local culture and traditions through their ornate architecture. They have also played a pivotal role in the development of the district for hundreds of years.
Pha That Mathkham is the district’s most important landmark and is located on a hill in Keodonekhoun village, not far from the town centre.
This stupa was built in 1576 and has been a revered place of worship for locals and people from other areas.
During the annual Lao New Year festival, the district organises special activities to celebrate the stupa. People also hold rituals to ask for blessings from the stupa. This is also a great place to get a good view of the surrounding scenery as it’s high up.
Siliboun-gneun temple, also known as Vat Leu, can be found in Luangmixay village, also in the centre of the district. This is a beautiful, old and large temple, built and decorated in the typical Leu style. By studying the architecture, visitors will gain an understanding of the Leu ethnic group and a glimpse into their culture.
Another popular attraction is the strawberry farm, located in Kang village, about 3km from the town centre. This is a large farm that serves fresh strawberries to visitors at a reasonable price.
They are served in unusual ways, including in a salad and in fizzy water.
The farm is on a hill and offers a good opportunity for taking photos or selfies. There are many spots that have been created with photographers in mind. The farm gets lots of visitors, who go there to sample the strawberries and take some colourful photos.
Head of the Information, Culture and Tourism Office in Ngeun district, Mr Khamdy Sengthongkham, said the district is full of interest to visitors.
“We have a wide range of attractions - temples, stupas, caves, traditional villages, smallholdings and others. We have asked local people to make these sites more interesting and attractive,” he said.
“Like other places around the country, we are ready to welcome visitors during Visit Laos Year. We have improved our main tourist attractions and facilities.”
“We have upgraded existing places of interest and opened some new ones. To provide a warm welcome to both local and international visitors, we have improved our services by running training sessions for site operators.”
“Because we have an international border crossing close by, it’s easy for people from Thailand and other countries to come here. There are also many kinds of handicraft and agricultural products which visitors can buy and take home as souvenirs.”
“There are many activities awaiting visitors, as well as plenty of restaurants and accommodation. We are surrounded by nature and a mix of ethnic groups with their own dialect so it’s a very interesting place to visit and to learn about the different lifestyles of ethnic groups.”
“We love receiving visitors and I speak for everyone here when I warmly invite all of those who wish to explore a relatively unknown part of Laos. We have plenty to offer.”


 

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update August 4, 2018)

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