Laos Simply Beautiful


Ban Kaeng

Nature of Kaeng Lin Village

Ban Kaeng Lin On the borders of Dong Phou Vieng National Protected Area (NPA) and on the banks of the wild Xe Lanong River stands the village of Kaeng Lin. The village was founded many years ago. At present, there are 85 families living here. UXO (unexploded ordinance) from the Second Indochina War was cleared in 2003. Ban Kaeng Lin is named after the rapids in the river. There was along tongue shaped stone that resonated as water flowed through the stone formation. Village legend says the sound was so loud that it frightened Siamese invaders, who eventually resorted to destroying the stone to stop the noise. There are over 90,000 (approx. 1.5% of national population) Makong people living in the central provinces of Khammouan, Savannakhet and Bolikhamxai. The Makong are linguistically of the Mon-Khmer groups, are said to have migrated from Burma and Lopbury district of the former Siam Kingdom. Makong means ‘bring the drum’. Traditionally the Makong are animist they pay homage to a spirit known as Mahesuck, but there are also spirits for rice planting and harvesting, spirits of birth and nursing, and spirits that control sickness and disease. There are village elders that serve as shamans that lead the rites of sacrifice and paying respect.
Xieng Khouang Province

By virtue of the Franco-Siamese treaty of 3 October 1893, signed in Bangkok and ratified by the French Parliament in January 1894, Laos became the fifth province of French Indochina. Laos was a protectorate like Tonkin (north Vietnam), Annam (central Vietnam) and Cambodia, but Cochin-china (south Vietnam) was the only province with the status of colony. Laos entered the Union of French Indochina from a position of disadvantage, with no defined status of its own but often thought of as an extension of Vietnam.
Located 400 Km northeast of Vientiane Capital, Xieng Khouang Province has a population of 249,000 spread over an approximate area of 15,000 sq. km. It is one of the 17 provinces of Lao PDR, located in the north-central area of the country, on the mountainous Tran-ninh plateau. Xieng Khouang includes eight districts: Paek, Phaxay, Phoukoot, Kham, Nong Hét, Khoun, Thathom and Mokmai. It is set at an altitude of more than 1,000 metres above sea level and enjoys mild temperatures for most of the year, although winters can be surprisingly cold. Kham District is a low-laying basin set at around 600 m above sea level.
Xieng Khouang enjoys a remarkable geographical location, surrounded by mountain ranges, with Phou Bia (2.700 m) the highest peak in Lao PDR. The province sits at the crossroads of traffic from central Vietnam and northeast Thailand. Historically, these two powerful neighbours-Siam and Vietnam have vied for control of its soil. The province shares borders with Houaphanh, Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Bolikhamxay provinces, as well as an international border with Vietnam’s Nghe An Province. Xieng Khouang has a long and rich history and is home to numerous ethnic groups, including Thai Phuan, Hmong, Khmu and Tai Dam. Xieng Khouang is home to the Plain of Jars, the prehistoric stone megaliths which attract thousands of tourists to the province each year. The Lao government is currently finalising an application for the World Heritage Committee to consider listing the Plain of Jars as a World Heritage Monument. The area is of significant archaeological importance on account also of the standing stones in nearby Houaphanh Province. Until briefly after World War II, the French used Xieng Khouang Town, present-day Muang Khoun town, as their provincial capital. A few ruinous colonial public buildings remain to this day, such as the governor’s residence, church and French school. A total of 63 tourist sites were recorded in Xieng Khouang in 2010, consisting of 32 natural sites, 18 cultural sites and 13 historical sites (2010 Statistical Report on Tourism in Laos, published by the LNTA, the Lao National Tourism Administration). The same publication reports that visitors to the province increased from 5,062 in 2003 to 21,631 in 2010 and that the total number of hotels, guesthouses, resorts, restaurants and entertainment establishments in the province grew from 98 in 2009 to 140 in 2010.
Phonsavanh, the new provincial capital, is located in Paek District and caters to increasing numbers of national and international tourists, eager to experience Xieng Khouang’s natural, historical and archaeological attractions. The new airport in Phonsavanh is served by regular flights from Vientiane Capital by Lao Airlines. The Provincial Tourist Information Centre is located 2.5 km from Phonsavanh town, next to Talat Nam Ngum (Nam Ngum Market). The office is open daily from 08:00AM-04:00PM and the English-speaking staff can be contacted on +856-61-312217 or +856-20-22340201.
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Pha Xay Waterfall
Pha xay waterfall by tourism marketing department
Local: Before Xay waterfall. Phu Khao Khouay National Protected Area. Ecotourism Activities Available: Elephant observation, trekking, kayaking, village home stay, bird watching.

Nong fa, Attapeu
The source of the Xe Kaman River and is a 2-day walk from Sanxay District in the northeast of Attapeu. Situated amid serene natural beauty and fenced by peaks of mountains. This virgin lake has all year round sky blue water. The depth of the lake has is unknown.
For More info: Email: Tel: (+856) 21 212 248. 
Attapeu (+856) 36 211 056
Location: Vientiane Laos PDR
Mekong River Sunset at Don Khong Champasack Province
Don Khong is the largest and northernmost of the 4000 Islands. It is also the capital of Khong District and is the logical jumping off point for trips to the rest of the islands. The island boasts having 99 mountain tops; a rich heritage of temples (15 total) and French colonial buildings. It is 24 km long and 8 km wide and has a total of 19 villages, many of which derive their livelihood from fishing. The main market in Ban Kang Don is a great place to visit in the early morning to see the many varieties of fresh Mekong fish available.

Other specialty products of the island include palm sugar, palm leaf hats, and Lhao Khao Gum-a potent alcohol. Two of the island’s mountains, Phou Kyo and Phou Kew, each have sacred caves and offer a refreshing walk in the forest with clear views of the island. A fantastic way to see the island is by bicycle or motorbike, following the paved ring road around.
How to get there: To get to Don Khong, from Pakse take Route 13 south about 131 km and turn right at the sign pointing to “Ban Hart and Ban Khinak”. Follow the paved road straight ahead for 4 km to the boat pier from where you cross over by ferry to Don Khong. 
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On this trek we stay for three days entirely within the forests of the Nam Ha National Protected Area, an ASEAN Heritage Site. It is a trip for those who want a true 'forest experience' and to immerse in the beauty of the jungle. The first night you will camp in the heart of the jungle.

The camp site is built out of natural products like bamboo and wood by the villagers. During the second night, Khmu or Lanten villagers will be your hosts. Along the way, local guides explain the forest products used by villagers for food, medicine, construction materials and religious ceremonies. Get up early with the first sun rays on the third day and have your breakfast in the village. READ MORE

Laos Simply Beautiful