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1,000-yr-old Lao tea forest to open for public
Publication Date : 12-07-2012
The tourism authorities in northwest Laos province of Oudomxay are promoting their 1,000-year-old tea forest and viewing platform at the top of Vieng Mountain as a tourist attraction, hoping to entice visitors to linger longer.
An official from Pakbeng Tourism Department's Tourism Promotion Division, Vilasid Phadthavong, said the department is seeking government funding to develop more tourism infrastructure in the riverside town, where a lot of tourist boats stop.
They think the town has a lot more to offer than many people are aware, and are attempting to transform it from an overnight stopover to a destination in its own right.
The 1,000-year-old tea forest will offer visitors the chance to learn more about local tea production, and they can enjoy a cup or two while taking in the rolling green hills from the top of Phou Vieng.
The local night market also offers visitors the chance to admire the colourful ethnic handicrafts and other exotic products on display, providing plenty of shopping opportunities.
The district has a number of organised activities for tourists to enjoy if they stay a little longer. They can visit nearby caves, go trekking in the forest and visit Leu ethnic villages as well as go elephant riding.
At present tourists travelling by boat between the town of Luang Prabang and Huayxai district in Bokeo province stay for only one night. This is mainly due to the schedule of the boat operators, but local tourist authorities want more of them to stay longer.
Vilasid hopes the new tourist attractions will encourage people to stay one more night, which will see more revenue flow to Pakbeng businesses and the pockets of local residents.
The department plans to liaise with local tourism operators, and ask them if they can incorporate longer stays in Pakben as part of their itinerary.
They also plan to improve their promotional efforts, in order to firmly establish Pakbeng on the tourist map.
The district currently has two hotels, 16 restaurants, 16 guesthouses with a total of 250 rooms, and one resort.
So far this year, Pakbeng has received almost 22,500 visitors from Europe, Japan, Republic of Korea, Thailand and other nations, as well as almost 900 domestic tourists.