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Phabath-Phonsan temple, the star attraction in Borikhamxay 
Welcoming Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and photographs inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, Jewel of the Mekong.

People may have heard of Borikhamxay province in Laos as it is home to Nam Song Si (the two-coloured river) or the meeting point of the Pakkading and Mekong rivers, but one of its other popular destinations is Phabath-Phonsan temple.
Located about 83km from Vientiane along Road 13 South, this important pilgrimage site has a shrine with a huge footprint of the Buddha, making it a significant site for all Buddhists.

Phabath-Phonsan temple.

Local residents believe that when someone is passing through the area they must stop for a while to pray to the spirits for a good journey by placing some gold leaf and coins on the Phabath (the Buddha footprint).
The adjoining Phonsan Stupa sits on the sprawling green banks of the Mekong, and is believed to be a sacred site where the Buddha once took his meals.
The stupa is also known for the annual Naga rocket festival, celebrated during the full moon in October.
In mid-January every year, provincial authorities hold the Phabath-Phonsan temple festival to pay respect to the Buddha footprint, attracting thousands of Buddhists from across the province and overseas.
The authorities in Borikhamxay have declared the temple a cultural heritage site to preserve its legacy and raise its profile among the public.
The province also plans to ask the central government to list Phabath-Phonsan temple as a national cultural heritage site.
Borikhamxay plans to kick off Visit Laos Year 2018 with the Phabath-Phonsan temple festival, which will be held from December 29 to January 1.
People who attend this festival will find many other attractions in Borikhamxay, which is located to the south of Vientiane.
The province is famous for its natural landscapes and its two national protected areas. This has made Borikhamxay a centre for ecotourism activities.
The province has 104 officially designated tourist attractions, including 89 natural sites, 12 sites of cultural interest, and three historical sites, according to the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.
Among the most well-known are Vat Dan Soung, Leuk, Xay, Nam Pa and Thone waterfalls, Tham Kaeng, Pha Thaen and Pha Meuang caves, the Ban Na community, Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area (NPA), Nam Kading NPA, and Hadxaikhao or the white sand beach.
Borikhamxay has developed eco-tourism by making arrangements for trekking, camping, home-stays and other tourist activities based on community tourism.
In 2015, the number of tourist arrivals increased from 200,000 to more than 300,000, and in 2016, the number further rose to more than 300,000.
Besides tourism, Borikhamxay is expected to become a new destination for domestic and foreign investment, especially in the agro-sector and industrial processing.
Construction of the fifth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge spanning the Mekong River between Borikhamxay province and Beung Kan province in Thailand is expected to begin in the near future.
Once complete, the bridge will offer a major transport route between Thailand and several cities in Vietnam.


How to get to Borikhamxay
By road
The most popular way is to take a bus or coach. Most people travel from Vientiane from the Southern Bus Station. The bus departs every hour along Road 13 South. You can use Google Maps to check the distance from your location to the destination.
For example, from Vientiane to Pakxan district it’s 150km. From Vietnam, take the bus on Road 8A to Pakxan. The trip might include some stopovers, and each is scenic enough to record the relaxing moments.
By boat
If you’re coming from Buengkan in Thailand, it’s a good option to take the ferry across the Mekong. Make sure you have a valid passport and visa to enter Laos.



By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 11, 2017)

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