Tag Archives: Champa Meuanglao

The River Resort: Riparian Luxury Meets Lao Hospitality

On the right bank of the Mekong, just north of Champasak town, sits a hidden treasure in Laos: The River Resort. Formerly a royal orchard, the 30,000 square meter area is teeming with green space for travellers looking to get away into nature and affordable luxury.

I had heard of The River Resort for quite some time and that it was a not only beautiful, but had a holistic attention to detail. People often remarked that it was a highlight of Southern Laos! I needed to find out for myself.

Cheerful Mr Ton, the General Manager, greeted me at reception and walked me through the property to my room. I learned that the resort itself is comprised of 28 Deluxe Guestrooms, 20 two-storied villas; and 8 adjoining rooms in two-storied structures. Each room has a splendid Mekong River view or Pond/Garden view, which can be enjoyed through large panorama windows.

The property also has two infinity pools with Mekong views, as well as a stunning riverside restaurant serving sumptuous Lao, Thai, and Western cuisine. There is even a rooftop area that is perfect for small private events or corporate meetings, complete with its own bar. Mr Ton also mentioned that the hotel has their own boats available for journeys up and down the Mekong, and even sunset cruises!

The American and Japanese owners fell in love with the location and invested in building this unique hotel project in keeping with the history of the area, and with a focus on the wellbeing of both guests and the community. The River Resort is dedicated to sustainable practices by composting organic waste to grow the magnificent flower, fruit, and vegetable gardens; using solar power in the kitchens, using ecologically grown bamboo in most of the furnishings; as well as maintaining a working rice paddy on the property! Hotel staff are almost all from the local area and have learned that hospitality brings skills they can use to improve their lives and share their region with the world.

I decided to see more of the area before dinner and boarded one of their comfortable local-style boats. In this area, it is very common to construct a large platform spanning two local pirogues as pontoons. Sitting in comfortable rattan chairs under a grass roof, I was feted with local snacks and a few soothing bottles of Beerlao to help quench the late afternoon heat.

Admiring the mountains towering over scenes of local life along the riverbank, it truly felt like a special piece of paradise.

 

Getting there:

The River Resort is just outside of Champasak town,

which is 30 km south of Pakse city. Lao Airlines flies from Vientiane

to Pakse daily, and flies from Bangkok four times per week.

 

 

Text by JASON ROLAN

Photographs by THE RIVER RESORT

Originally published in Champa Meuanglao magazine.

Inflight Magazine Offers Special Advertising Discount for Lao Products

Made in Laos

Champa Meuanglao, the official inflight magazine of Lao Airlines, is offering a special promotion to Lao businesses that create and sell their own products. The magazine section, entitled “Made in Laos” is showcasing souvenirs and other items made by Lao producers in order to catch the attention of foreign visitors.

Launched in the November-December edition of the magazine, the issue was released in time for the Lao Handicraft Festival from 27 October to 4 November this year. 

The Made in Laos section of the magazine featured cotton pouches from the Lao Textile Museum,  Matsutake Whisky produced by Kualao Restaurant, Lue Shoes by Herworks,  Herbal Soap by Les Artisans Lao, and a Lanten Geometric Pouch by the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center in Luang Prabang. 

The magazine is now calling on any interested businesses and artisans who may wish to promote their products in the January-February issue of the magazine. Interested parties may contact the magazine for enquiries at info@champameuanglao.com or by phone at +856 20 55731717.

made in laos full page

 

Si Phan Don – The Original River Life Experience

River Life Experience Tour Southern Laos

When I first visited Si Phan Don, which literally translates to Four Thousand Islands, I had the feeling that the pace of life in the rest of Laos might be a little fast. Here is where I came to understand the true meaning of ‘sabai-sabai’ or ‘taking it easy’.

Champa Meuanglao Launches “My Favorite Place” Photo Competition

My Favorite Place photo competition

Champa Meuanglao Magazine, together with Lao Airlines, is calling on photographers of all backgrounds and experience levels to enter their best single images of their favorite place in Laos for a chance to win free flights with Lao Airlines.

In line with the Visit Laos Year 2018 initiative, Champa Meuanglao magazine has launched the My Favorite Place photo competition with the hope of inspiring local and foreign photographers, both amateur and professional, to visit the beautiful country of Laos and submit a photo of their favorite place.

Submissions are to be judged by a panel including professional photographers, members of the Champa Meuanglao editorial team, and representative of Lao Airlines.

My Favorite Place photo competition

Entries for the My Favorite Place photo competition are open from 1 April to 31 May, 2018.

Winning photographs will be displayed over a two-page spread titled “My Favorite Place” in upcoming issues of Champa Meuanglao magazine, the official inflight magazine of Lao Airlines, and an exhibition of winning entries will be held at Kualao Restaurant, in Vientiane Capital.

Prizes include flights to Hanoi, Chiang Mai, and Luang Prabang.

For more information, contestants are advised to visit www.champameuanglao.com/myfavoriteplace or contact Champa Meuanglao magazine on +856 20 55731717.

Sunny Side Up: Getting Your Hands Dirty at Phutawen Sunflower Farm

At the end of a long, dusty red road in Bolikhamxay Province stands a ticket booth, a turnstile, and fleet of electric buses. Festive local music plays from hanging speakers, and groups of visitors mill about among lush garden beds, taking selfies with exotic seasonal flowers and organic vegetables.

Seven Shades of Indigo: The Laha Story

Laha Indigo Laos

In spiritual terms, indigo is the colour of intuition and perception. In fashion terms, it’s synonymous with denim – deep of hue and naturally dyed.

It’s also one of the seven colours of the rainbow and has up to seven of its own distinct shades.  But did you know that indigo also has mosquito repelling properties, and helps reduce perspiration. It’s for these reasons, and more, that indigo, derived from the plant of the same name, has been intricately linked to the livelihoods of Lao people for generations. In Laos, indigo is often dubbed “the living colour”, because of the procedures involved in its cultivation, a complex process that involves extracting the liquid from the plant leaves and fermenting it, until a chemical process turns it from a murky yellow to the deep indigo hue. During this process, great care is taken to ensure the colour does not “die” at each step, and it is then prized for its various practical, rather than simply aesthetic, qualities.

This is especially true for rice farmers, who often wear cotton dyed with natural Indigo. But today, all over the world, fashionable young things are toting bags and wearing jeans and shirts made from “natural-dyed indigo” and hailing from the popular Japanese chain store Muji, which has more than 470 branches worldwide. Most people are unaware of the brand’s long-established link with a workshop in southern Laos, home of the Thonglahasinh Company, which today exports several textile products to Japan.

According to the company’s founder, Bounthong Yodmankhong, the road to this point has been long and winding, beginning when he set up the company with his wife, Songbandith, almost 30 years ago.

Bounthong Yodmankhong

Back in 1990, Thongsavanhxay Company, as it was then known, began life as a garment factory in Savannakhet, exporting products to Europe. But when the European Union cancelled a special tax exemption, many foreign investors in Laos had to move their operations to China and Vietnam. Thongsavanhxay was among many local operations that were forced to close. But Bounthong says the move also forced him and his wife to change their business focus, and concentrate more on locally made products that reflected Lao culture.

Songbandith hails from Ban Laha, a small village in Savannakhet Province that has long been associated with indigo and cotton farming. Due to a family heritage of work in the area, she had hundreds of rolls of vintage fabrics scattered throughout the family home. It was these that caught the eye of Maki, a visiting conservationist and textiles expert from Japan, who was introduced to the family by an expert from JICA.

Laha’s products

“Mr Maki was interested in Lao weaving culture and saw the beautiful fabrics we’d collected,” Bounthong says.

“He wanted to understand more about the traditional weaving methods of the villagers of Laha from the village elders, and especially about the traditional indigo dyeing methods.”

The idea was to revive the traditional heritage of indigo and Lao cotton weaving, and combine it with modern designs, in a joint Lao-Japanese enterprise. After several years of studying and refining the local craft, the project, led by Bounthong and Maki, was able to export products to Yukenled, a leading import company in Japan, in 1997.

The delicate process of producing indigo

From this, the local Thonglahasing, or ‘Laha’ brand was born, an enterprise that was now large enough to export its products and gain international recognition. From then on, Bounthong regularly attended international textile exhibitions and trade shows, and it was while attending an exhibition in Japan in 2012 that he met a representative of Muji.

“He was interested in collaborating with the business, and said Muji had been monitoring Laha’s progress for the past 12 years,” Bounthong says.

This partnership led Bounthong, along with the general manager of Muji, on a study tour to India to research traditional Indian methods of indigo dyeing.

“When working with the Japanese, every step must be very detailed and meticulous in order to satisfy their quality standards,” Bounthong says.

“But this didn’t put us off at Laha – we’ve worked hard over the years to prove ourselves to Muji and maintain the relationship.”

Former President Choummaly Sayasone

Nowadays, the Thonglahasinh Company fills orders worth US$2 million a year for Muji, with the most popular item a simple denim tote bag in varying shades of indigo. The company sends off more than 1 million of these each year, alongside limited edition scarves, pillowcases and cushion covers.

“These products are limited because of the precision required in weaving and dyeing according to Japanese standards, which takes time,” Bounthong says.

“But we’re told they’re highly prized by Japanese customers.”

Today, Bounthong is wearing one of his own indigo shirts – faded and softly worn with age – and muses that the business of textiles is both beautiful and multi-faceted. An avid photographer in his spare time, he says the patience and attention to detail required to capture the perfect image is similar to producing beautiful cotton and indigo fabrics. And both require an appreciation for beauty that millions of people, the world over, can now share.

 

Champa Meuanglao
Written by:
Silvia Luanglath
Photos: Phoonsab Thevongsa
Originally Published in: Champa Meuanglao,  official Lao Airlines in-flight magazine, 2017 July-August Edition

Champa Meuanglao Inflight Magazine Reaches the Skies

Champa Meuanglao Magazine

Champa Meuanglao, the official Lao Airlines inflight magazine, has undergone a drastic change as part of a reboot that now showcases a modern and sophisticated Laos.

With a newly designed logo, backed by an impressive team of editors, designers and photographers, the revamped, bi-monthly publication reflects an evolving Laos, showcasing the country’s arts and culture scene, world-famous cuisine and enduring popularity as a travel destination.

Champa Meuanglao now also focuses on business innovation and the rapid development of Laos as a commercial hub in the region. This is happening at a time when Lao Airlines is also making both small and large scale organizational improvements in attempt to enhance its competitiveness.

The revamped first issue cover features The Walking Street, a bustling part of the riverside in Vientiane that shows a vibrant night market teeming with delicious food stalls, eclectic music and the hippest of Vientiane youngsters.

On the topic of the Walking Street, CML Managing Editor Sally Pryor writes, “No, this is something different. It’s a strange sensation, alighting from a car (you can’t really walk until you get there) and making your way through the narrow space between the buildings at Vientiane New World, a new shopping district facing the river. If night has fallen, the lanes and courtyards between the buildings will be filled with pop-up food stalls, funky open-air bars and racks of vintage clothes. Clusters of people – mainly hip young Lao, savvy expats and a smattering of tourists who probably can’t believe their good fortune – mill around on crates, benches and avant-garde seating. Many of them are holding drinks that actually glow, and settle in for several hours. Welcome to Walking Street, the unexpected – and yet, when you think about it, completely inevitable – sensation lighting up the pristine, darkened facades of what would otherwise be a dead space after dark. It’s the brainchild of Anouza Phothisane – AJ to his friends – a local entrepreneur who, in his words, just wanted “to create a new chill-out space for people to hang out – not too fancy”.

Champa-Meuanglao-Magazine-Cover
View the May-June edition here!

The magazine also features Naked Espresso as the burgeoning coffee empire that has hit Vientiane by storm, TOHLAO co-working space’s role in the fledgling startup community, 108 Jobs launch of the country’s first job app, LTH’s affirmation as Apple’s only trusted official authorized reseller, and a story on Laos’s entry into the global Slow Food Movement.

In addition to the editorial content, readers have come to rely on the advertisements in the magazine as an easy, time-efficient way to find about products and services in Laos and in the destination countries to which Lao Airlines flights travel. In a peaceful, serene environment such as an aeroplane seat, adverts stand the best possible chance for recall.

Champa Meuanglao Magazine is the nation’s prime vehicle for getting an advertiser’s message in front of the people that matter.

The benefits that advertisers can expect include:

–        a captive audience of over 900,000 passengers a year

–        distribution to hotels and ticketing offices throughout the country and in the region

–        a two-month shelf life making it more cost-effective than daily or weekly advertising vehicles

–        quality advertising production

–        ad sizes and styles to meet various budgets

For more information, contact RDK Group by email at info@rdkgroup.la or by phone at  +85620 55555521, +856 20 55285580, or  +85620 55731717.  The magazine is now open for advertising for the July-August edition.

Champa Meuanglao
View the May-June edition here!

Lao Airlines to Reboot Inflight Magazine, Open for Advertising

Official Inflight Magazine of Lao Airlines

The Lao Airlines inflight magazine, Champa Meuanglao, is to undergo a drastic change as part of a reboot that will showcase a modern and sophisticated Laos.

Production of the inflight magazine has been awarded to SMP Consultants, in partnership with RDK Group. The two companies will draw on their experience in business consulting, media and publishing to breathe new life into the magazine for the benefit of passengers on Lao Airlines flights.

With a newly designed logo, the revamped, bi-monthly publication will, like its parent airline, reflect an evolving Laos, showcasing the country’s arts and culture scene, world-famous cuisine and enduring popularity as a travel destination.

Lao Airlines Magazine Champa Meuanglao

Champa Meuanglao, the Lao Airlines magazine, will also focus on business innovation and the rapid development of Vientiane as a commercial hub in the region.

In addition to the editorial content, readers have come to rely on the advertisements in the magazine as an easy, time-efficient way to find about products and services in Laos and in the destination countries to which Lao Airlines flights travel. In a peaceful, serene environment such as an aeroplane seat, adverts stand the best possible chance for recall.

Champa Meuanglao Magazine is the nation’s prime vehicle for getting an advertiser’s message in front of the people that matter.

The benefits that advertisers can expect include:

–        a captive audience of over 900,000 passengers a year

–        distribution to hotels and ticketing offices throughout the country and in the region

–        a two-month shelf life making it more cost-effective than daily or weekly advertising vehicles

–        quality advertising production

–        ad sizes and styles to meet various budgets

For more information, contact the sales department at advertising@champameuanglao.com or by phone at  +85620 55555521, ,+856 20 55285580, or  +85620 55731717.