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Savannakhet: A key tourist destination of Laos
Welcoming Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times publishes a series of feature articles and
photographs inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of
South-East Asia’s Simply Beautiful Laos.

Savannakhet is a province located at the heart of Laos with many interesting tourist sites and places to visit. This makes it a destination that any tourist cannot afford to miss.
The name Savannakhet is derived from the old Pali language and means “land of gold”. The area has been inhabited since ancient times, having benefited from the Mekong River and its tributaries. People here have cultivated rice on the largest plain of the country, and fostered rich arts and culture.

Tad sanaen waterfallin Namdan village, Botaen district, Xayaboury province.              
--Photo Botaen authority

Savannakhet shares boundaries with Khammuan and Saravan provinces and is inhabited by a wide variety of ethnic groups, including Lowland, Phouthai, Thai Dam, Katang, Mangkong, Vali, Lava, Soui, Kapo, Kaleung and Ta-Oy.
Many investors have poured funds into the province, whose economy has continued to grow step by step.
Tourism in the province is continuing to develop and attract more and more visitors.
Provincial officials are improving hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and tourist sites to make sure everything is clean and ready for the tourists who are expected to come to Laos for Visit Laos Year 2018, said the Deputy Director of the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Syha Phanthavong.
He also said they would improve information about tourism to make things easier for visitors.
There are many tourist sites in Savannakhet, including Inghang Stupa, Xayaphoum temple, Hor Tay Pidok library, the Heuan Hin or stone house, That Phon Stupa and a collection of dinosaur fossils.
Inghang Stupa
Inghang Stupa was built during the era of the Sikhottabong Kingdom when  King Sumitatham reigned, about 2,000 years ago, and is meant to mark the place where Lord Buddha rested while visiting the region. Rebuilt in 1548 by King Xaysetthathirath, the stupa is located at That village in Kaysone Phomvihane district. Festive rites are held annually and organised to coincide with the first full moon of the lunar calendar in December.
Xayaphoum Temple
Located at Ban Xayaphoum village in Kaysone Phomvihane district, on the banks of the Mekong River, Vat Xayaphom was built in 1542, the same period as Ban Thahir or Nakham. It is a centre of the local Buddhist people, with arts and architecture dating from the original Savannakhet. Festive ceremonies are held during Pi Mai Lao and the Boat Racing Festival.
Hor Tay Pidok Library
This building houses a collection of 200-year-old palm leaf manuscripts written in the ancient Pali and Lao alphabets. It is located in Ban Nonglamchan village in Champhon district.
Heuan Hin or stone house
This is a shrine built by the ancient Khmer to mark the glory of their “Sikhottabong” empire. The stone house is located in Dongdokmay village, 15km from Xayphouthong district.
That Phon Stupa
Another important religious shrine. Constructed in the 16th century, festive rites are held annually and are organised on the first full moon of the lunar calendar to pay respect to Phra Shiva and other Hindu gods in February. The stupa is located in Phonthat village, Xayphouthong district.
Dinosaur fossils
Fossilised dinosaur bones were discovered at Tangvay village in Xonbouly district in 1930. They are now housed in the Dinosaur Exhibition Hall in Khanthabouly.
Food
There are many kinds of food available in Savannakhet, including sin savanh (sundried beef strips), grilled chicken and mum savanh. Visitors should try to sample all the local delicacies.
Accommodation
More than 800,000 people visited Savannakhet last year. About 350,000 people visited the province in the first five months of this year with about 80 percent coming from Thailand. The hotels and guesthouses have enough rooms to accommodate tourists.
Shopping
There are many kinds of goods, including handmade items, available for shoppers and plenty of handicrafts made by local people that are suitable for purchase as souvenirs.
Economy
Savannakhet has strong Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth with the rate of growth expected to reach about 10 percent this year. Agriculture is forecast to grow by 6 percent, the industrial sector by 12.75 percent, and services by 12.10 percent.
How to get to Savannakhet
Savannakhet can be reached by bus from the Southern Bus Terminal in Vientiane, and is about 450 km from Vientiane. The flight from Vientiane takes about one hour.
You can also enter Kaysone Phomvihane, the provincial capital, from Thailand’s Mukdahan province across the Friendship Bridge. Minibuses, taxis, tuk-tuks and jumbos are available, and it is easy to get around the town.

 

ByTimes Reporters
(Latest Update October 7, 2017)


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