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Xaysomboun sets out its stall for Visit Laos Year 
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.

With the launch of Visit Laos Year 2018, provinces around the country are preparing activities to welcome visitors and reveal their hidden treasures.
Xaysomboun, Laos’ newest province, has a raft of attractions to draw visitors to this relatively unexplored part of the country and introduce them to its colourful ethnic groups.
One of the highlights will be the Hmong New Year festival from December 17 and 24 in the provincial capital Anouvong district, according to the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department.
During the festival, the Hmong give thanks to their ancestors, play a traditional ball tossing game, stage cultural performances, and organise competitions in football, volleyball, top spinning, crossbow and petanque. There is also an exciting encounter between pairs of fighting buffalo.

Buffalo engage in battle as part of the Hmong New Year Festival.    --Photos Phoonsab

Visitors can buy a range of products including souvenirs, traditional Hmong clothing and consumer goods.     
The authorities are expecting at least 2,000 people to come for the festival, which will be a boon to local restaurants, guesthouses and hotels. 
The Hmong festival is a very traditional event and is also celebrated in other provinces each year.     
Not far from the provincial capital is Pha Sangob, while it is 4km to Chao Anouvong Cave and 45km to the Nam Ngum II dam reservoir, Deputy Director of the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Thongsavanh Phosalath, said.
Other attractions include Phou Bia, Houay Nok waterfall, Phou Mork, Vang Pao’s house, the old palace of former King Sisavang Watthana, and Longchaeng Temple.
When visiting Xaysomboun, tourists can choose to experience a home-stay in the village of an ethnic group or stay at a four-star hotel.
There are also a number of largely unexplored caves and mountainous areas for the more adventurous.
First try exploring Phou Mork in Longchaeng district, to learn more about the greatly revered Chao Anouvong, who ruled the Lane Xang Kingdom several centuries ago and unified the country.
Then take a local boat to see Thathom district, have a feast at Dan Pha Saeb or Long Xan, and enjoy the refreshing Chae Lae waterfall in Hom district.
For some real exercise, climb to the top of Phou Bia – the Roof of Laos – for a truly unforgettable experience.
Mr Thongsavanh strongly recommended the Hmong New Year festival as a not-to-be-missed event and urged people to visit the province to enjoy a true taste of the country’s traditions.
Xaysomboun province was established on 13 December, 2013.
It is a mountainous area, located in central Laos, bordering Xieng Khuang province to the north and the east, Borikhamxay province to the south, and Vientiane province to the west.
The province has five districts - Anouvong, Longchaeng, Longxan, Hom and Thathom. The population numbers about 89,800, of which 51,200 people are Hmong, 23,370 are Lao Loum, and about 13,000 people are of Khmu ethnicity.
Most people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.
To reach Xaysomboun, take Road No. 13 north of Vientiane to  Vangvieng district in Vientiane province, a distance of about 140 km, or take Road No. 13 south of Vientiane to Pakxan district in Borikhamxay province, a distance of about 90 km. Either of these routes will eventually take you to Xaysomboun, but allow plenty of time.
The number of Lao visitors to Xaysomboun reached 20,100 people in 2014 while about 19,000 people visited in 2016. Foreign visitors numbered about 22,200 in 2014, increasing to over 26,400 people in 2016, according to the Tourism Development Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
In 2015 the province had 100 hotels, guesthouses, resorts, restaurants and entertainment venues, with the number increasing to 122 in 2016.
There are 37 officially designated areas of natural beauty, four cultural attractions, and nine sites of historical interest.
Xaysomboun province has abundant natural resources scattered throughout its mountains and valleys.
The province has a rich culture and ancient traditions and is known for the hospitality of its local people.

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 18, 2017)


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