Phou Kout Mountain to be major Xieng Khuang tourism attraction
Authorities in Xieng Khuang province are developing the historical site at Phou Kout Mountain as a tourist attraction in the province aside from the well-known Plain of Jars.
An official from the province's Department of Information, Culture and Tourism revealed the project to Vientiane Times on Tuesday, which he hopes will successfully draw more visitors.
The department Director Mr Vongsa Duangthongla said the site would be a top promotional priority next year to coincide with Visit Laos Year and the province hosting the national games in November 2018.
Phou Kout Mountain was a strategic location during the fight for national liberation, where a crucial battle between the liberation army and the old government administration force took place. The stronghold is to this day known as ‘iron-topped' Phou Kout Mountain.
“Any army force who could take the mountain could control the whole Xieng Khuang province and the surrounding provinces,” Mr Vongsa explained, adding the battlefield was also described as ‘sitting on the elephant's neck'.
He noted the whole Xieng Khuang plateau and other military strategic sites around it can be viewed from the top of the mountain, which is located around 30 kilometres from Phonsavanh, the provincial capital.
According to Mr Vongsa, access has been improved to the site with the road recently paved with asphalt, and authorities are devising a tourism interpretation plan for the site's military history.
Xieng Khuang province is located 435 kilometres from Vientiane. Travellers can go there by land on national roads No. 13 and 7 or use the shorter route through Borikhamxay province. Lao Skyway and Lao Airlines have daily flights between Vientiane, Xieng Khuang and Luang Prabang. The hot spring in Kham district will be another site promoted by Xieng Khuang province during the two national events next year.
Despite have historical and ancient sites, and temperate climate, only around 50,000 people visit the province a year.
The tourism official said the province suffered from insufficient accommodation in the past, especially during Hmong and Khmu New Year; therefore development of more facilities was in the provincial plan, which aimed for 720 additional rooms for visitors, with multi-storey hotels to be built to accommodate guests during the national games.
By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update March 09, 2017)