Xaysomboun province is set to officially open to tourists at the end of this year, allowing visitors the chance to explore some unknown and untouched sites in this formerly secret area that was for a long time closed to all outsiders.
Photo Credit: Vientiane Times
Both historic sites and natural beauty are among the many attractions in the formerly remote Xaysomboun province.
The start of Visit Xaysomboun Year will be officially marked in December, aiming to coincide with the anniversary of the establishment of the province, which was officially founded in 2013.
After the official opening, tourists will be able to visit both historical and natural attractions, including Chao Anouvong cave at the base of Phu Bia mountain and also the former battle field.
Facilities and services are now in place for those who aim to explore this beautiful province, which features rivers, mountains, caves and people of several ethnic groups.
Director of the Xaysomboun provincial Department of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Vonepadith Dalanouvong, said a four star hotel and the road to Phu Bia, the highest mountain in Laos, have been under construction in anticipation of a large number of visitors.
Once complete, the road will allow people to access the top of the mountain to enjoy the spectacular views of the town below and the karst mountains stretching out to the south and the plains of Vientiane.
"Many people wonder if we are ready for tourism," Mr Vonepadith said. "Actually, we have everything in place after two years of preparations. Now, more businesses are coming here to invest in the hospitality sector."
Once the province is officially open, tourists will have the chance to enjoy home-stays with ethnic groups, and visit largely unexplored historic caves and sites. Apart from the natural resources that are drawing companies to invest in the province, tourism also has a huge potential to generate income for Xaysomboun.
Despite its former isolation, the province is centrally located and accessible by road from Vientiane, Borikhamxay and Xieng Khuang provinces and from Vientiane.
Xaysomboun authorities are planning to widen and upgrade the roads, improve local markets and upgrade accommodation for the benefit of tourists and local people.
Visitors can also witness the lifestyle of the hardworking local population and some places that have remained untouched for decades due to their previous inaccessibility.