Nam Ngum reservoir, ‘the Sea of Laos’, is an excellent getaway
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.

It’s not easy for people who live in landlocked countries to enjoy a day at the beach or to go for a cruise on a boat unless they travel overseas.
But sitting and chilling on a speedboat as it zipped from island to island on the Nam Ngum reservoir reminded me of the three months I spent in Singapore while on an Asia Journalism Fellowship programme. It brought to mind an excursion arranged by the trip’s organisers.
With the Nam Ngum reservoir now an option for a holiday in Laos, one doesn’t have to worry about the expenses associated with a trip to a foreign beach resort.
This particular tourist attraction is known as “The Sea of Laos” because of the colour of its water - crystal clear green - and is being primed as one of the main draws in Laos after Vangvieng district, also in Vientiane province.

One of the leisure activities at the reservoir is riding a cruise boat that serves food and drink and has karaoke.

My holiday there last weekend with my colleagues from Vientiane Times was thanks to the generosity of the Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort, which provided us with comfortable rooms along with great food and hospitality.
The 90-minute speedboat ride was the perfect opportunity for us to relax, breathe in the fresh air and take in the beautiful surroundings. A flock of birds flew around us, seeking food in the waters of the reservoir.
The red glow of the sun was alluring and the slow moving ripples of the Nam Ngum River had a calming effect, and all of it made for a very special moment as a gentle breeze blew in across the reservoir.
Several businesses rent out boats of different sizes in the waters upstream of the dam.
Tourists can also visit a village inhabited by an ethnic group near the Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort. This was a special experience because the people were happy to talk to us.
I had an informal interaction with a local teacher who has been teaching at the village’s primary school for years along with two colleagues.
Sharing some crackers and cakes with the local children gave me a lot of happiness because they were very friendly. The jokes I cracked with them brought back memories of my own childhood.
Currently, a foreign investor is developing the Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort as an ideal destination by  building accommodation and introducing interesting activities.    
The number of tourists visiting the reservoir has been growing. Most come from other Asean nations such as Thailand, while others come from China and the Republic of Korea.
Domestic tourists also accompany visiting relatives from foreign countries to spend a day or two in the area.
The government is observing 2018 as Visit Laos Year to promote tourism, and domestic travellers are being encouraged to explore the beauty of their own country before heading overseas.
Travelling within our own country will not only bolster the government’s campaign but will also contribute to socio-economic growth and generate income for local communities.
Located just 60km from Vientiane, the Nam Ngum reservoir in Keo-oudom district, Vientiane province, should be on the must-visit list of all travellers. Adventurous motorcyclists can also gather for a bike rally to explore the backdrop of the reservoir.

By Bounfaeng Phaymanivong
(Latest Update June 16, 2018)

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