Xayaboury to open forest as latest visitor attraction
Xayaboury province is opening up its largest forest as one of its visitor attractions, hoping to draw more people to experience its natural beauty and raise its profile as a tourist destination.
Director of the province's Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Chanthi Simanichan, said recently that provincial authorities had surveyed the forest in Phieng district, which is 80 km from the provincial capital.
“The biggest trees in Phieng district are maitaekha (Sindora cochinechinensis) which can grow up to 15 metres in width and more than 10 metres in height. There are more than 30 trees, of which three trees are particularly large. Nine or ten people could stretch their aims around the biggest one,” Mr Chanthi said.
After surveying the trees and the surrounding area, provincial authorities discussed how they could turn the forest into a tourist attraction and open it up to the public.
The area is of great interest to those with an interest in nature and the huge trees are an unusual sight. The area has the potential for various activities for visitors who enjoy the great outdoors, as well as for students wanting to study tree species in Laos. Mr Chanthi said the maitaekha are hundreds of years old and are highly valued for their hard wood.
Apart from the massive trees and the beauty of nature, there are some fascinating caves of which the most attractive is Lobphai. Mr Chanthi said anyone wanting to visit the forest should contact the Phieng district Information, Culture and Tourism Office to find out about road conditions because travel to the area is difficult.
“The provincial authorities plan to build a dirt road to the forest because there is no road access at present,” Mr Chanthi said.
He said there are many officially designated tourist sites in Xayaboury province but travel to many of them is difficult because of poor road access and is impossible in the wet season. It is essential to build roads to make more of the sites accessible.
The massive trees are close to Somsavath and Natoum villages, from where it is a walk of about 1 kilometre to get to the forest. Travel from Phieng district to these villages is also not easy because of poor road conditions.
However, provincial authorities plan to build a road to the forest in an effort to bring development to impoverished Phieng district through road access, Mr Chanthi said.
“Construction will start this year and then district authorities will officially open the forest area as a new tourist site. Locals and foreigners can visit at any time, but don't forget to contact the Phieng district Information, Culture and Tourism Office so that officials can provide help,” he added.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 06, 2017)