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Vang vieng set to attract even more visitors

Domestic and international tourists alike are looking for new and exciting places to celebrate the coming New Year, and the popular tourist town of Vangvieng in Vientiane province is ready to hold its own special countdown party on an island!

According to Head of Vangvieng's Tourism Administration Office, Mr Phouvieng Sykaisone, the district has organised a trade fair at the old airstrip, where tourists can enjoy browsing amongst stalls of local handicraft, fruit, household appliances and clothes.

“The trade fair, which opened yesterday and will continue until the end of the year, is a central component of our celebrations for the upcoming new year. But best of all, we will join with a variety of entertainment venues in hosting New Years Eve celebrations on Don Kang Nam Xong (Xong River island), in Savang village in the centre of town,” he said.

He added that the island was a suitably large area, on which organisers had prepared open fire places for visitors to sit or dance around if it took their fancy, as well as lucky draws, games of petanque and volleyball and musical acts to attract revellers on New Years Eve and New Years Day.

“Many people like to visit the island because it is a beautiful area surrounded by the gently flowing river and limestone mountains, and it is located right in the centre of town,” he explained yesterday in a telephone interview.

“Savang village is currently under development,” he added, “there will also be a local trade fair here, at a village meeting area in the old market.” The fair will sell local skirts ( Lao sin ), traditional handicrafts and food to tourists who come to welcome in the New Year.

The district currently has 86 restaurants and more than 1,000 rooms available, including three hotels and 63 guesthouses, he said.

“In Vangvieng you can open your window and drink in the beauty of the stunning natural scenery, in refreshingly cool weather,” said Mr Phouvieng.

Vangvieng has in the past attracted a generally younger crowd, who come to relax and enjoy the Lao countryside by floating down the river on inflated tyres (tubing), kayaking and swimming in the Xong River.

There is also a range of trekking options and many people go out to explore the caves hidden in the limestone outcrops. On the gastronomic front, one can sample organic wine, shakes and pancakes made from mulberries, along with healthy mulberry leaf tea and deep-fried tempura leaves eaten with honey.

The tourist town of Vangvieng is now booming, as it is a convenient stopping point for many travellers journeying by road between the two World Heritage Sites of Luang Prabang in the north and Vat Phou Champassak in the south.

By Panyasith Thammavongsa

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