FEATURE: New tourist Xayaboury attractions that visitors shouldn’t miss

XAYABOURY (Vientiane Times/ANN) - If you are planning to visit Xayaboury, you shouldn’t miss the new tourist attractions in the province, including the Pha Khimin lookout and the Tham Lot caves. 

These new attractions in Xayaboury district are located in areas with stunning natural beauty and a serene atmosphere.

They were recently opened to the public but have already drawn a large number of visitors.

This writer had a chance to visit the two sites a few weeks ago as part of a project to promote tourist attractions of the province that was organised by the Tourism Marketing Department of Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

Both sites are not far away from Xayaboury town and it’s easy to get to them.

Pha Khimin or Khimin cliff lookout is located near Nahay village and east of the town. It is located in a protected forest area of Xayaboury district and about 4 km from the town centre and 3 km from the village.

The lookout is on a high cliff, more than 700 metres above sea level, and one can have a great view of the whole of Xayaboury town.

It is a very good vantage point to watch the stunning views of the town and breathe in the fresh cool air of the mountains. It’s also the best place for those who love photography and a good spot for a relaxing picnic.

The lookout was opened to the public on December 2 last year and foreigners have been among the many visitors who have made their way to the site.

Above the lookout is a cave called Tham Pha Khimin, which is easily approachable on foot.

The local people also call the cave Tham Pha, which means the cave of Buddha images, because there are many images inside it.

The Pha Khimin area is under the management of the district’s authorities and the local committee has developed and improved many things to facilitate visitors and to make the area more beautiful.

Several works are underway in the area, such as the building of a road up to the lookout, building of huts at the edge of the cliff for selling local food and drinks, and improvement of the whole site.

The road is yet to be surfaced but can be used round the year. The local committee plans to surface it in the near future.

The vice district governor and the head of the committee of this area, Mr Bounseng Vongsanith, said there are many activities at Pha Khimin, such as watching the views of Xayaboury town, visiting the caves and water vegetable garden, and witnessing the local people’s lifestyle.

The committee also plans to work for the sustainable development of tourism and there will be more activities in future, such as forest treks and camping.

Visitors can get to the spot by taking any kind of vehicle or on foot because it isn’t so far away from the town or village.

Tham Lot or Lot cave is located in Thamlot village, to the north of the district about 12 km from Xayaboury town.

It was opened to the public on December 6 last year and has attracted more than 3,000 local and foreign visitors since then.

Tham Lot is one of six caves near the village and all of them are of different sizes. All the caves are under the management of Thamlot village. The district directed the village administration board to manage the area, and the villagers to provide services to visitors.

Visitors can see the caves and green forests or have a swim in a small river with fish. They can witness the lifestyle of the Khmu ethnic group, who dress up in their traditional costumes to welcome visitors.

There are also handicrafts products made by villages on display.

Most of the residents of Thamlot village are Khmu, and they perform their traditional dances and sing for visitors if they are asked.

There are huts that serve local food in traditional style and visitors can also bring their own food and drinks for a picnic.

The road to the caves is not surfaced as yet but it’s good enough to be used by cars or motorcycles. The entrance is free but the village will charge a parking fee of about 5,000 kip for each vehicle to raise funds for the local administration.

During the annual elephant festival, to be held during February 16-22, the province will organise activities to boost its new tourist sites. This includes a caravan to the main sites such as Pha Khimin view point, Tham Lot and Tham Savanhak.