Tag Archives: vangvieng

Stunning Vang Vieng

Many travellers are surprised to find that Vang Vieng, the tourist hotspot and stop-off town on the way from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, is visually spectacular. The party scene, which once made the town’s reputation, has died down in recent years, and many of the riverside bars and grubby stalls have disappeared. The attention of visitors can now refocus on the spectacular limestone mountains, lush green rice paddies and crisp air.

When hotelier Stéphane Vigié sent out a call for photography of the area for a national competition and eventual exhibition, he wasn’t altogether surprised to receive a veritable flood of entries from all over the country, some 400 in all. What did surprise him, when the entries began pouring in, was their quality, especially those from young Lao photographers – exactly the people he wanted to support.

Indeed, his intention behind the competition and show has been two-fold.

“My first objective was to promote what I like to call the good side of Vang Vieng,” he says. “I feel that the media, when they are talking about Vang Vieng, are almost exclusively focusing on its development challenges. They lose sight of what really makes Vang Vieng a special place: gorgeous landscapes but also a very interesting history, many ethnic communities and captivating legends.”

Vigié has long been on a mission to highlight Laos’ artistic heritage and visual culture. Today, he is the co-owner of the town’s most stylish hotel, Riverside Boutique Resort, but he first came to Laos to work as Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program, advising on the fight against poverty and inequalities. He quickly realized that many local people understood relatively little about the country’s cultural heritage, let alone the rest of the world.

He opted to stay in the country, and, through his hotel, promote Laos’ rich cultural history. The hotel has regular shows and exhibitions, and the rooms are themed with specific ethnic décor.

Vigié’s second objective when he launched the competition was to support local artists, specifically photographers. “I wanted to try and give visibility to some good young Lao photographers,” he says, adding that he’s noticed over the years that whenever there was a call for professional photography in the country, it was foreigners who answered it, rather than locals.

Knowing in advance that many prospective entrants, especially the younger ones, would need support, Vigié had organised sponsorship for three separate groups of photographers to travel to the town and immerse themselves in the area.

And, from the quality and diversity of many of the entries, this initiative paid off. From frank and haunting portraits of local residents to startling natural landscape shots, the images on show demonstrate that Vang Vieng has a hold on anyone who visits, even locals who have been travelling through the area their entire lives.

The 24 entries that make up the exhibition, which is showing through August in Vientiane and Vang Vieng, were selected by an international jury of professional photographers, artists and journalists. In a rapidly developing society, many young people – hooked on screens and social media – are nevertheless seeing the world with fresh new eyes. It’s time, says Vigié, to see the world, through this new gaze.

“We were thrilled to receive so many great images,” he says.

“We really hope that this exhibition will help raise awareness about the beauty of Vang Vieng, and also the need to protect and preserve its unique landscapes and traditions.”






Originally Published in: Champa Meuanglao

China Invests in Vientiane-Vang Vieng Expressway

Vientiane Expressway Project

During a two-day visit to Laos by Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 13-14, an agreement was signed by officials from both countries to begin construction on the Vientiane-Vang Vieng expressway, which is slated to begin early next year.

The joint-venture agreement was among 17 cooperation documents signed during the state visit by President Xi Jinping to Laos.

According to an official, China will hold a 95 percent stake while the Lao government will hold the remaining 5 percent under the agreement. Both sides are set to begin negotiations on the concession agreement, which will specify the length of the concession.

The $1.2 billion USD road will link Sikeuth village in Naxaithong district, Vientiane, to a tourist hotspot in Vang Vieng district.

An official, citing the project’s Chinese developer, has stated that once construction on the expressway begins, it will take an estimated three years to complete the 113.5-km road. The new expressway, which will include a 679-metre tunnel at Phoupha Mountain, will be significantly shorter than the 156km route that currently exists using Road No. 13 North.

It was previously reported that the expressway would be developed alongside Road No. 13 North and the Laos-China railway, which is still under-construction.

Speeds on the expressway will be set at 100km per hour on flat terrain from Sikeuth village, Vientiane to Phonhong district, Vientiane province. The mountainous sections between Phonhong and Vang Vieng districts will be set at  80 km per hour. The bypass will save drivers a significant amount of time as they can reach higher speeds as compared to the present route, which is mountainous and winding.

Based on similar charges made by other countries in the region, drivers using the expressway can expect to pay 400-500 kip per kilometre, which will amount to 45,000-56,000 kip between Vientiane and Vang Vieng, according to an official.

The Vientiane-Vang Vieng expressway is the first section of the planned Vientiane-Boten expressway, which the Lao government and the Chinese developer, a state construction enterprise from Yunnan province, plan to jointly build to link Vientiane with the northern province of Luang Namtha, which borders China.

After construction of the Vientiane-Vang Vieng section has begun, authorities will survey the second section between Vangvieng and Luang Prabang province and then the third section linking Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha’s Boten.

The project will be financed and developed in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model, and the survey of all three sections is expected to reach completion by July, 2018.


VangVieng Music Festival 2 Sets Out To Make Entertainment History

Those unlucky people who missed the Vangvieng Music Fest organized by Samart Event Organizer last week will get the chance to attend the Vangvieng Music Festival 2 hosted by Lao Bangfai and Lao Pride Records this weekend.

Taking place on December 23-24 at the Lom Cave in Vangvieng, everyone will get the chance to say goodbye to 2016 with a huge bang.

The festival features live bands and DJs from Laos and abroad.

Lao Bangfai Prime Association representative, Anousa Phothisan, said the festival will host Lao bands such as Leprosy, L.O.G., Neung Super One, and Thai bands such as Slot Machine and Tattoo Colour. Other acts include DJs and bands from beyond the Southeast Asian region.

Tickets are on sale for 70,000 kip at branches of Amazon Café and True Coffee.

Anousa said his team will provide an all new lighting system and special effects display on stage to max out the party atmosphere.

He expects the audience to exceed last year’s numbers and said he was confident the festival would be a boon for tourists visiting the area.

Other exciting entertainment activities provided by Lao Bangfai and Lao Pride Records are also on the schedule to make this festival an unforgettable one.

Major sponsors include Lao Brewery Company (Beerlao), Spy Wine Cooler, and other media partners.


Source: Vientiane Times

Central Regions Tourism Festival to Be Held in Vangvieng

A central regions tourism promotion festival will be held in Vientiane province from December 10-16 with the aim of attracting larger numbers of local and foreign tourists.

Upgraded Facilities Drawing More Visitors to Vangvieng

A newly paved road connecting the town of Vangvieng to Poukham cave is one of the key factors attracting more tourists to the area at present.