Laos tourism

More revolutionary hideouts revealed to public

More caves used by Lao revolutionary figures as hideouts during the struggle for independence have been unveiled to the public.
The Lao national Tourism Authority (LNTA) recently organized a promotional tour to the newly revealed caves in a bit to promote tourism and gather ideas on how to improve historical tourist sites in Viengxay district of Huaphan province.
The opening of the caves will boost Laos tourism numbers in the province and benefits students and researchers of Lao history.
Participants who followed the convoy to the new caves were impressed with the hidden grottoes that were used by officials, soldiers and police during the war as factories, shops, hospitals, schools, meeting places and entertainment areas.
The Viengxay caves in north- eastern Laos are an extensive network of caverns carved out of the limestone mountains. The district, which was stronghold of the Lao people's revolutionary Party of the pathet Laos during the 1960s and 1970s, abounds in caves.
The revolutionary leaders used the protection afforded by mountains to create offices, meeting rooms and shelters for themselves and Laos revolutionary Party members.
Authorities have so far opened only seven caves to the public. These include the living quarters of key leaders such as Mr.Kaysone Phomvihane, Prince Souphanouvong, Mr. Phoumy Vongvichit, Mr. Nouhak Phoumsavanh and Mr. Khamtay Siphndone. LNTA hopes to open all 28 caves to the public in the near future.
Minister to the prime Minister's office and LNTA President, Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, said the hideouts will appeal to visitors from around the world and explain the story of the Lao People's revorutionary Party leaders and the people who fought during the Indochina War.
The authority will exhibit displays describing the lives of officials, soldiers and police so that students and the younger generaton can learn about the nation's history, " he said.
Viengxay is increasingly being visited by foreigners and Lao people, esspecially those iterested in history.
LNTA plans to develop the caves to enable visitors to fully understand the role the site played in the nation's struggle for independence.
Authorities also plan to develop the town of Viengxay into a historical tourist attraction, recapturing revolutionary battles and showcasing the caves, in an effort to draw more foreign tourists t the area.
The developement of the area as a tourist destination is aimed not only at pasing on the ahtonishing story of the revonutionary leaders who lived in the caves, but also at reducing poverty amongst the people og Huaphan province.
It is hoped the development of the sites will significantly boost tourist numbers, which are steadily rising. Viengxay attracted just 400 visitors in 2001 but this had increased to 9,000 by 2009.
LNTA has put a lot of effort into raising funds to develop the Viengxay caves as a tourist attrction. The province is an isolated area and poverty is widespread. Outside support is necessary to develop the province. Mr. Somphong said.
How to get there: a bus from the northern bus terminal in Vientiane takes about sixteen hours to reach Vienxay district in Huaphan province.

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