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Khammuan plans grand Sikhottabong Stupa festival
 
Khammuan province will stage a larger Sikhottabong Stupa festival than in previous years, with a variety of activities planned to draw people to the area from February 14-16.
The colourful festival is being heavily promoted in a bid to kickstart tourism after visitors numbers plummeted because of the Covid pandemic. The festival is held annually during the full moon in February and is celebrated over several days.
The stupa is Khammuan province’s most holy site and the festival held in its honour is attended by people from all around the country.
The province’s Deputy Governor, Mr Keoaudone Bothsingkhone, said the festival, which takes place around the stupa in Thakhaek district, will be larger than usual but will take place in compliance with the standard Covid control rules and no alcohol will be on sale.

Authorities have arranged an extensive programme of events, including almsgiving, a wax castle parade, stalls selling handicrafts, sports competitions, an art contest, and other activities.
This is aimed at rejuvenating tourism, with Khammuan province to be included in the second phase of the government’s new tourism scheme.
The province has been designated a green travel zone, meaning tourists are free to travel there, while other parts of the country remain off limits to visitors for the time being, Mr Keoaudone said.
People attending the festival will have their temperature checked upon entry and hand sanitiser will be provided, while everyone will be required to follow the virus control guidelines issued by the province’s Covid-19 taskforce. In a further bid to attract visitors, Khammuan authorities have opened Tham Xang and Tham Xieng caves for public viewing and built new visitor facilities to encourage people to explore the province’s scenic beauty and other areas of interest.
Authorities will also improve service standards at hotels and guesthouses and will work with the health department to ensure travel is safe for visitors during the second phase of the green travel tourism programme, the Khammuan provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department said.
Hotels and guesthouses will carry out temperature checks of customers and employees, while guests must provide a certificate showing they have had two doses of a Covid vaccine.
Khammuan province is home to numerous natural wonders, especially the many limestone caves that are secreted within its rocky outcrops. Sites such as Kamphengyak, also known as the Giant Wall, and the Sangsou and Nam Sanam waterfalls, should also be on travellers’ itineraries.
At Phou Phamarn hill, there are zip-lines for the adventurous, a canopy walkway through the trees, and hikes led by guides through forested areas.
Visitors can also buy locally-made goods such as rice baskets made from woven bamboo, as well as clothing and other items made from naturally dyed cotton.
Khammuan province has 198 officially designated tourist attractions of which 139 are nature-based, 30 are of cultural interest and 29 are historical.


By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update February 8, 2022)


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