Plain Of Jars Potential As Unesco World Heritage Site Considered

A meeting will be held this week in Xieng Khuang province to report on the progress made for the consideration of the Plain of Jars (Thong Hai Hin) as a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Lao-Swiss Music, Dance Performed In Vientiane

Lao and Swiss artists staged a concert performing music and dance shows at the National Circus in Vientiane Capital on Sep 28 to promote cultural exchange between Laos and Switzerland.

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Luang Prabang Film Festival Opens Call for 2018 Talent Lab

The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) has announced that it is accepting applications for its 2018 Talent Lab, led by Tribeca Film Institute® (TFI). The Lab, which will train Southeast Asian filmmakers on grant writing and project pitching, will be held during the opening weekend of the ninth annual festival, which will take place 7-12 December 2018.

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Major To Open New Cinema In Laos

Vicha Poolvaraluck, chief executive of Major Cineplex, said he signed the deal with Thatnakhone Thammavong, president of TK Group and Lao World Plc, an owner of ITECC Mall, to open the new state-of-the-art cinema.

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Laos Movie Industry Begins To Flower After Decades Of Neglect

In Laos, one of the poorest nations in the world, the local film industry is beginning to flower after decades of being virtually non-existent. Local directors are creating critically acclaimed films despite limited resources

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Tourism And Development Threaten Laos’ French Traditions

It remains a jewel of French colonial architecture, you can savor some of the best croissants and baguettes east of Paris here, and even toddlers still learn the language of their bygone rulers. Luang Prabang, tucked into a river valley in the heart of Laos, survives as one of the last bastions of the old French Indochina.

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Baci Ritual: A Centrepiece Of Lao Culture

The baci or Sou khuan is a well-known traditional ritual and has a deep meaning for Lao people.
The baci ceremony is reminiscent of Brahmanism and animism. It follows the belief that the human being’s main body parts are inhabited by 32, or even more, spirits. In some circumstances, these spirits may leave the body to wander around and get lost in the universe, thus causing you to become weak and vulnerable to danger.
It’s therefore important to call the missing spirits back, so you can be yourself again. This ceremony is performed on important occasions such as births…..

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What Languages Are Spoken In Laos ?

Lao, also called Laotian, is the official as well as the dominant language in Laos. Migration and conflict have resulted in the present ethnic composition of Laos and to the geographical diffusion of its ethnic groups. 86 languages have so far been documented in the country as used by its various ethnic groups. French and English are identified as minority languages in Laos.

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Luang Prabang Film Festival Announces 2017 Talent Lab

The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) has announced that it is looking for applicants for its 2017 Talent Lab for Southeast Asian filmmakers, to be led by Tribeca Film Institute® (TFI). The Lab, which will focus on grant writing and project pitching, will be held during the opening weekend of the eighth annual festival, which will take place 8-13 December 2017.

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Luang Prabang Film Festival Announces 2017 Dates, Releases Design

The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) has announced that its eighth annual event will take place on 8-13 December 2017. The festival, which celebrates Southeast Asian cinema every December in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, Laos, will feature a range of feature film screenings, short film programs, panel discussions, and events.

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Five Bans to be Strictly Enforced During Lao New Year

The Government issued five public bans for Lao New Year celebration last week, in an effort to maintain social order and promote and preserve Lao traditions and culture.
Firstly, state offices and the general public nationwide have been asked to organise a farewell party to BE 2560 in accordance with the longstanding traditional culture of Laos and the government’s policies throughout the five-day celebration from 13 to 17 April.

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Luang Prabang Film Festival Goes From Strength To Strength

Luang Prabang, the well-preserved northern capital of Laos, doesn’t have a single working cinema. But over the first week of December, the streets of its Unesco-sanctioned historic district filled with cinephiles hailing from all over the region and beyond for the latest edition of Luang Prabang Film Festival, or LPFF.
Thirty-two feature films were screened, which ended on Dec 7, all of them from the Asean nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, ……

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WIG BAZAAR – THIS SATURDAY !!!

The WIG Bazaar is BACK on Saturday, 19 November 2016 at the Lao National University Faculty of Engineering, Sokpaluang Road, Vientiane from 10am to 6pm.
The WIG Bazaar is a popular and much-loved community event that is free and open to all members of the public. Attendees can expect stalls showcasing handicraft and information, delicious international food and drink, and other products including local Fair Trade wares and demonstrations.
The event also features …..

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Stunning Wax Castle Procession Reflects Rich Lao Culture

Thousands of people gathered yesterday for the grand wax castle procession, one of the main features of the annual That Luang festival and among the country’s cultural highlights.
The festival has become more widely known over the years and more and more foreigners make a point of coming to Vientiane for this very special and uniquely Lao event.
This year’s festival holds greater significance than usual as it marks the 450th anniversary of the …..

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WIG Bazaar 2016 To Return In November

The Women’s International Group (WIG) Bazaar will take place on Saturday, November 19 at the Lao National University Faculty of Engineering, Sokpaluang Road, Vientiane Capital from 10 am to 6 pm.
The WIG Bazaar is a popular and much-loved community event that is free and open to all members of the public. Last year’s event attract over 10,000 visitors.
The WIG Bazaar is the primary …..

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Police Outline Boat Racing Festival Security

The Vientiane Traffic Police Department will station some 300 police around the capital’s downtown from October 11-17 to ensure public safety during this year’s boat racing festival.
This year 300 police officers will be on duty at 66 police posts in Sikhottabong, Sisattanak and Chanthabouly districts.
The police officers will be stationed inside the festival area and in vehicles outside…..

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Vientiane Rescue Prepares For Boat Racing Festival

Over 20 volunteers from Vientiane Rescue 1623 are performing drills to assist anyone in the water in preparation for this year’s boat racing festival in the capital next month.
Vat Chan Festival is the largest boat racing competition in Laos and takes place annually the day after Buddhist Lent ends. This year’s festival falls on October 17.
A senior officer with Vientiane Rescue 1623 under ….

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Obama Regrets ‘Biggest Bombing In History’

The bombs, as one Laotian described it, “fell like rain”, US President Barack Obama said Tuesday on a visit to Laos, a first for any sitting US president.
“Given our history here, I believe that the United States has a moral obligation to help Laos heal,” he said.
He referred to America’s secret and devastating bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s.
Some $90m (£68m) will be spent over ….

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Police Clearing Roads For Asean Summits

Police officers commenced clearing vendors, stalls and parked vehicles along main roads in the capital on Friday in preparation for the Asean Summits from September 6-8.
According to the Vientiane Traffic Police Department over 350 officers will serve around the capital in an effort to reduce congestion and ease movement for foreign delegates and residents alike during the ….

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Join The International Women’s Boat Racing Team !

The International Women’s Boat Racing Team is calling for people interested in joining their team to participate in the boat racing festival, planned for Monday Oct. 17 this year.
The International Women’s Team is a joint team comprised of international and Lao women, and women from Saifongneua Village.
People joining the team should be prepared to …

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Restoration Beautifies National Icon: Hor Pha Keo Museum

A visit to Hor Pha Keo often inspires visitors to delve into Laos’ rich past with the site being the former resting place of the revered Emerald Buddha.
The Hor Pha Keo temple or museum is one of the most respected places in Laos and is also open for visitors to explore its antiquities. Hor Pha Keo is one of the oldest buildings in Vientiane and was used as a ….

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MINI VIENTIANALE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL RETURNS

The Mini Vientianale International Short Film Festival returns to the silver screen from March 11-13 2016. The festival showcases an exciting line-up of national and international short films to the Vientiane community both indoors for daytime screenings and under the stars in the evenings at the Cinema Department, off Khouvieng Road.
The final evening of the festival will be……

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Retelling A Great Lao-Thai Tale

Sinxay is a story which appears in slightly different versions with slightly different names in Mon, Thai, Lao and Khmer. The plot is a classic quest in which a hero prince is banished by the machinations of evil siblings, travels long through forest and mountain, defeats many fearsome enemies, and is eventually celebrated in a great homecoming.
Old versions were written in verse for recitation at ….

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Vat Phou Festival: Plenty Of Accommodation Available

Visitors to the Vat Phou festival in Champassak province need not worry about accommodation as hotels and guesthouses are not yet fully booked, an official has confirmed.
Hotels and guesthouses are not fully booked due to a reduction in the number of foreign tourists visiting Vat Phou at present.
This year, Vat Phou festival will take place from …..

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From Bombs to Bracelets, This Jewelry Line Is Clearing Land Mines

“After the war, we live afraid of unexploded bombs, and we’re very careful when we go and do anything,” says Somechit Phouangsavat, an artisan from Ban Naphia, also known as War Spoon Village, in Laos.
The 32-year-old works alongside 30 other artisans at Article 22, a company that makes jewelry using Vietnam War–era bombs and scrap.
“Wars don’t end when history books say they do,” explains Elizabeth Suda, the founder of …..

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FLOW, A Photography Exhibition By Ore Huiying

FLOW, a photography exhibition by Ore Huiying, will be held at i:cat gallery, 16: 230-231 Settathirath Road, Ban Si Muang, Vientiane, Lao PDR from 12 October (6.30pm onwards) to 12 November 2015.
The photographs are reflections on the existence and absence of religion in modern Laos and Cambodia. FLOW was created as Ore travelled overland from Vientiane to Phnom Penh, with the Gautama sculpture and the Kasaya canvas artwork.
The artist Ore Huiying says: “The images in FLOW are …

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WIG Bazaar 2015

We are happy to announce that the WIG Bazaar will be held on 7 November, 2015 at the National University of Laos Faculty of Engineering grounds (near Sokpaluang Road), from 10:00 to 17:00.
Stalls will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on four separate stall sale dates during the second and third weeks of October 2015. Details about the cost of stalls and stall sale dates/times will be …..

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Top 10 Lao Dishes You Must Try !

In Laos, food is the most important activity throughout the day. In the local language, it is quite common for people to greet each other by immediately asking, “Have you eaten food?” (“Kin khao laeo bor?”). Food is often the topic of many conversations, especially when eating and sharing dishes between friends and family. Additionally, Lao people take great passion in sharing traditional dishes with curious travelers.
Lao people were originally ……

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Major Cineplex Group Is Expanding In Laos, Aiming To Have 30 Movie Screens Within Three Years

Entering the country of 7 million people through its partner Platinum Cineplex, Thailand’s largest movie-theatre operator Major Cineplex Group formed a 60:40 joint venture to open its first five movie screens in Vientiane, for a total investment of about Bt75 million.
“We expect at least 500,000 movie tickets will be sold in the ……

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Major Improvement, Platinum Experience

Less than one week, after months of rumours, on August 6, 2015, the Major Platinum Cineplex Theater finally opened its doors to the public at Vientiane Center. I was very excited to see how the whole experience would compare. Nonetheless, I set my expectations low. After all, Vientiane is already equipped with two ….

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A Unique Theatre Event: Shakespeare’s Globe Theater From London Present Hamlet in Vientiane!

On 23 April 2014 – the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (London) embarked upon a two-year global tour, to present Hamlet to every country in the world. The ‘Globe to Globe Hamlet’, directed by the Globe’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, is a completely unprecedented theatrical adventure. On July 10 they will play in Vientiane! Their stay in Vientiane is supported by ….

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Arts Incubator Program: Public Art And The Collective Conscience

The American Arts Incubator program is sponsoring a visual artist and muralist, David Burke to collaborate with local artists, community members, and create public art or small art projects for groups in Laos.
There will be a number of grants available, $500 each, given to small organizations who will work with David on an art project for their organization.
There will be an introductory talk and tuning in to the program on Monday 18 May at 6:00 pm at i:cat gallery. This will be followed by a four day art and ideas …..

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i:cat Gallery Hosts Exciting New Art Exhibition

The ongoing exhibition ‘Bylines’, staged by the i:cat gallery in Vientiane, features intriguing drawings and paintings by four artists and depicts the lifestyles of Lao people.The intricate pieces have been created by Ms Ji Hyun Lim, Ms Jenny Thorncraft, Ms Elizabeth (Lizz) Card, and Lao artist Mr Khomsavath Aphayavong.
Ms Ji Hyun Lim, an artist originally from the Republic of Korea, has lived in Vientiane for two years with her family. She has supplied 25 artworks for the ……

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Blooming Champa Awaiting To Amaze Visitors This Weekend

Lao frangipani collector Dr Outhaki Chounlamany-Khamphoui will officially open her impressive garden tomorrow to visitors after spending many years collecting different frangipani species from around the world.
The Amazing Champa Blooming 2015 will feature 5,000 beautiful frangipani trees with more than 200 species from around the world, along with singing and dance performances, poetry readings plus stalls and other activities during the …..

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Vientianale International Film Festival: Full Screening Programme

Vientianale International Film Festival returns to the silver screen from March 12 to 15, 2015. The festival will showcase an exciting line-up of Lao and international feature-length and short films to the Vientiane community under the stars outside the Cultural Hall in the evenings, and at the Cinema Department’s movie theatre during the daytime.
The annual film festival celebrates the art of film and the diversity of Lao culture, and has emerged as an important platform for local filmmakers to screen their works: …..

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Vientianale International Film Festival Returns 12-15 March 2015

Vientianale International Film Festival returns to the silver screen from March 12 to 15 2015. The festival will showcase an exciting line-up of Lao and international feature-length and short films to the Vientiane community under the stars at the Cultural Hall outdoor event space in the evenings. Daytime screenings will be held at the Cinema Department, Vientianale’s long-term partner.
The annual film festival celebrates the art of film and the diversity of Lao culture, and has emerged as an important platform for local filmmakers to screen their works. This year’s festival will showcase recent films from …..

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Week-Long Annual Fair Kicks Off At That Luang

Vientiane authorities expect that the annual That Luang trade fair will generate over 36 billion kip in revenue for vendors and organisers during the week-long event.
The trade fair was officially opened last Friday at the That Luang esplanade. It takes place on two sites – the esplanade and Lao-ITECC.
This year’s That Luang festival marks the 448th anniversary of the construction of the grand stupa. The celebration has become a long-time practice handed down from generation to ….

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Boun Suang Heua, Boat Racing Festival

In Luang Prabang, Boun Suang Heua, or the Boat Racing Festival is held on Khao Padapdin, the Day of the Commemoration of the Dead (in August). In Vientiane Capital it is held the day after the End of Buddhist Lent.
Both are important social and sports events witnessed by huge crowds. One week before the race, Fa Ngum Quai (along Fa Ngum Road) is taken over by stalls selling all kinds of …..

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ULUVUS Release ‘The Best Song Ever Written’

Rock band ULUVUS will release the best song ever written, Ma Dort Ma Ten Ma Man this week and plan to have concerts in October.
“It is without a doubt the best song ever written,” said Chris Crash, the band’s front man. “By an international rock band singing in Lao language, I mean.”
The song is an uplifting call to set aside your worries, slam on some cheap shades and celebrate life. The accompanying music video depicts a heartbroken girl who is ….

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Love in Luang Prabang: Film Festival

The world premiere of “Vientiane in Love”, an omnibus romance by four Lao directors, will open the fifth edition of the Luang Prabang Film Festival, set for December 6 to 10.
Screening in the festival’s 800-seat outdoor main venue, “Vientiane in Love” is by Lao New Wave Cinema and four directors – Vannaphone Sitthirath, Xaisongkham Induangchanthy, Phanumad Disattha and Anysay Keola, who made his debut in 2012 with the thriller “At the Horizon”.
Three other features from Laos’ newly emergent film industry will ….

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Major Cineplex Group To Open Venue In Vientiane

Major Cineplex Group Plc, Thailand’s largest cinema operator, is looking to expand further in Indochina as the region’s entertainment industry develops.
“Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos are fresh entertainment markets, and we should take this opportunity to establish our presence in these countries before our rivals,” said Major Cineplex chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck.
Its first cinema with five screens would open by the end of this year at the ……

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No Measures In Place To Stop Disappearance Of Colonial Buildings

No concrete solution has been determined to save Laos’ colonial and traditional buildings, which are disappearing due to urbanisation.
Officials from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism’s Heritage Department expressed concern that if there were no coordinated preservation efforts or proper town planning the historical architecture would disappear.
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are rich in colonial French architecture.
Tourists and foreign expatriates told Vientiane Times that Vientiane used to have the potential to become one of the most attractive and charming cities in Southeast Asia, but a lack of good planning and proper zoning has gradually eroded the city’s ….

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Crime Novelist Cotterill Is Still A Mystery In Vientiane

The adventures of coroner-sleuth Dr Siri have attracted an army of readers in the West, but he remains a stranger back home
Colin Cotterill is without doubt the best-known author of murder mysteries set in Laos, a communist country where crimes are rarely even reported in the state-run press.
In fact, Cotterill, 61, may well be the only author of murder mysteries with Laos as their setting. The protagonist of the British author’s award-winning series is Dr Siri Paiboun, fictionally appointed the first and only coroner in Vientiane in …..

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With Parades And Water, Laos Welcomes Year Of The Horse

Leaders, government officials and Lao people around the country celebrated the Lao New Year festival from April 14-16, taking part in a range of activities to preserve the fine traditions and culture of the country.
The highlight in Vientiane was the Nang Sang Khan (Miss Lao New Year) procession, which started early in the afternoon on April 14 and was attended by several thousand Vientiane residents.
There were also smaller processions of monks with Buddha images, accompanied by traditional performing arts performances….

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Govt Pulls Plug On Pi Mai Parties To Save Money

The government has instructed state organisations not to spend any of the state budget on Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year) parties over the three-day festival from April 14-16.
Officials are also banned from using state vehicles for personal use over the course of the festival, according to the two-page announcement issued by the Government Office.
The announcement comes amid budget tension that has resulted in the government being more restrained with its spending and the suspension of ….

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World Record Pasalob Dance Held In Vientiane

The world record “Pasalob dance”, a Lao traditional culture, ever held in the Lao PDR took place at That Luang square on Saturday drawing more than 4,200 students.
Participants in yellow t-shirts danced and stepped simultaneously according to four hit Lao songs Euay Kor Ngarm Nong Kor Ngarm, Ying Lao Yuk Mai, Oh Duang Cham Pa and Sao Tane Piao. The objective of the event is not only to promote the preservation of Lao traditional culture and dance but also to make the Lao PDR and its customs internationally known.
Pasalop dance is popular to social parties, traditional festivals and …..

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Largest Lao Dance: World Record Attempt

The Largest Lao Dance record breaking attempt are inviting people of Vientiane to support the first record breaking attempt in Laos this coming Saturday 5th, April, 2014! The event aims to bring people together as a whole community of Vientiane to promote Lao Culture. Top eight Universities and Schools in Vientiane are practicing Lao dance called Baslop. The Baslop dance is consider as Lao traditional dance you see in weddings, parties and ceremonies.
The event will be held at …..

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Connecting Cuisine And Culture

If you’re seeking an authentic local experience in a new city, sometimes you have to be willing to get your hands dirty – but when it’s all in the name of good food, the pleasure is all ours. Sabaidee Magazine joined a market tour and cooking class run by Lao cook Nouk through Lao Experiences Vientiane.
“Smells bad, looks bad, but tastes amazing!” declares Nouk Keoaloun, the owner of Lao Experiences Vientiane, and our guide for today’s market tour and cooking class, as she motions for me to sniff the bunch of greens …..

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Mini-Vientianale: First Short Film Festival In Lao

On 8th and 9th March, Vientianale International Film Festival will hold “Mini-Vientianale”, the first Short Film Festival in Lao PDR in the garden of the Lao Cinema Department. Entry is free. This two day festival will premiere 16 new seven- minute short films by emerging Lao filmmakers on this year’s competition theme “you + me”. The audience will be able to vote for their favourite film about love, friendship and family on the night of the screening on 9th March from 6:30 pm onwards and bear witness to the award ceremony for the ….

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Vienstock Rock Festival 2014: Rock For Education

Vienstock is an independent charity rock Concert, it was created by Pierre Bourlard, a.k.a DJ Pierre, and featured last year 5 international bands, 3 Lao bands and a DJ play. The Festival’s slogan is “Rock for education”.
In 2013 Vienstock was held on Vientiane International School sport field. All profits from the entrance fees and T shirt sale proceeded to Ban Sapphanthongtai school. For the first edition 2700 USD were raised for some urgent sanitation work.
In 2014 we organize the second version of Vienstock in Ban Simeuang, the French school (Hoffet school) let us use their sport field. 11 lao and international rock bands will participate:

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Laos Impoves Ranking In Global Corruption Survey

Corruption remains a threat to Laos, and global development, despite the government making progress to tackle the problem, officials noted at an International Anti-Corruption Day event.
According to the annual Corruption Perceptions Index prepared by global anti-corruption body Transparency International, Laos is currently ranked at 140 out of the 177 countries surveyed for the index, which scores countries on how corrupt their public sectors are seen to be. Last year Laos was ranked 160.
“Corruption is one of many negative phenomena having a large effect on ….

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Laos, Camera, Action: Luang Prabang Film Festival

The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF), which screens Southeast Asian films of all genres, opens tomorrow and runs until Dec 11. Now in its fourth year, LPFF celebrates the growth of the regional film industry and aims to make film more accessible to the public. Because there is no cinema in Luang Prabang, screenings are held outdoors at the Handicrafts Night Market, as well as at the Amantaka Hotel and the nearby visitor’s centre.
LPFF operates year-round, running workshops and educational activities, and working to support local filmmakers through ……

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Marriage To Foreigners Should Follow Procedures

Officials have warned those who plan to marry foreigners to follow legal marriage procedures, especially women who choose to leave Laos and reside in their fiancé’s country.
The warning came after reports emerged that many Lao women who got engaged to foreigners have left Laos and gone to live in their intended’s country without undergoing the correct procedure – several of whom have been reported as suffering from unexpected ill treatment from unfaithful partners.
Some of the women from this group are believed to have fallen victim to human trafficking as they were reported as having lost contact with their families at home since their …..

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New Lao Guide Magazine Hits the Shelves

Sabaidee Magazine, one of Laos’ most popular travel and lifestyle publications, has revamped its design and content to incorporate a new 22-page listings section that can be used as a country guide by locals, expatriates and those passing through on holidays or business.
The new listings detail the best places to eat, drink, shop, sleep and relax in the main cities and visitor hotspots throughout Laos. Sabaidee also outlines a host of activities in their See & Do section that families, couples or friends can get up to.
Another desirable facet of the magazine is the extensive section reviews. Sabaidee’s writers regularly venture out to discover the newest, trendiest and most standout spas, eateries, entertainment venues, shops and ……

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That Luang Festival Trade Fair Kicks Off

The That Luang festival trade fair officially kicked off on the esplanade yesterday, featuring a tempting display of domestic and imported products that will delight shoppers until November 17.
This year the fair at the That Luang esplanade comprises 510 stalls and stages displaying performances, food items, and industrial and handicraft products from Vientiane, foreign embassies in the capital, international organisations and other bodies.
But religion is at the heart of the festival and on November 15 colourful wax castle processions will take place at Vat Simeuang, Vat Inpeng, Vat Ongteu and at That Luang itself. On November 16 the grand wax castle procession will depart from….

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Laos Tops WHO List Of Asean Alcohol Consumption

Laos ranks top out of the 10 Asean countries for alcohol beverage/beer consumption, with an average of 7 litres consumed per person per year, according to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The survey also found that Lao women drink more alcohol than women in other Indochina countries.
Laos has many ethnic groups and each has its own traditions and culture but alcohol plays an important role throughout Lao society, the survey found.
Unsurprisingly the survey found that the high consumption of alcohol is a frequent cause of ….

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‘Our Lives On Film’, Mastering The Art Of Documentary Filmmaking

Countries with a less developed film industry such as Laos usually have a stronger documentary scene. Producing documentaries costs less than producing movies. But is not the only reason for this interest in real life storytelling.
There were twelve Lao filmmakers eager to be trained and learn more about the art of documentary filmmaking. The workshop held from September 14th to September 22nd was organized by the LuangPrabang Film Festival and instructed by the Humanitarian Media Agency (HUMA). It was all about this topic: giving the participants the tools to produce a good documentary film…..

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Wind West Turns 21

A 21st anniversary party is nothing to shy away from in the West. When done right, it can become one of the most memorable nights of your life. Having attended more than a few parties and anniversaries in the past, I will review Wind West’s 21st anniversary by comparing the key features a party needs to be unforgettable.
The music was the centerpiece of the night. Although Wind West is already known for its great live band, the 21st anniversary performances were very entertaining and diverse. A total of seven bands played during the course of the night, including one foreigner band, Sugar Mouth. The other six bands are Boulenium,……

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The Rocket Shoots For The Oscar’s Stars

A boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him leads his family and two new friends through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by the legacy of war, to prove he’s not bad luck he builds a giant rocket to enter the most exciting and dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.
Australia has submitted The Rocket as its official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Oscars. The recognition for the Australian film The Rocket keeps coming as the low-budget drama set in Laos has become Australia’s official selection for the best foreign-language Oscar next year.
After winning awards at two major international festivals then the audience prize at ….

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Laos, Three Neighbours Pledge To Stop Dog Meat Trade

Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are trying to save dogs, supposedly man’s best friend, from restaurants in Vietnam, where they have most favoured meat status.
The four governments agreed in principle to put an end to the trade in dogs for human consumption at a recent meeting in Hanoi, with a pledge to interdict the trafficking of canines from one country to another for the next five years.
The move, if successful, could save an estimate five million dogs from being slaughtered and eaten each year, according to …..

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Mandarin Asserting Its Dominance In North Laos

On a research trip along the Laos-China border recently, I was struck by the number of Mandarin schools that have popped up in the small towns and villages that lead to the border, and the number of Laotian families that have chosen to send their children there to study Mandarin.
The reason for this shift in attitudes is simple enough: China is the biggest investor in Laos at present, and the might of China’s economy is keenly felt among the small population of Laos, who see hundreds of Chinese lorries and boats go down the highways and the Mekong river.
Entire communities have sprung up as a result, and along the border, new Special Economic Zones have emerged where Chinese businessmen and tourists flock…..

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Heritage Architecture Being Lost

Heritage officials have expressed concern over the number of French colonial buildings that have disappeared from the capital due to urbanisation in recent years.
There are growing concerns that much of the colonial architecture in Vientiane, which is part of the national heritage of Laos, is being demolished without permission in order to develop the land, particularly in the city.
The French colonial architecture that has remained in the country since France left Laos is one of the unique attractions of the nation, which continues to attract many tourists to ……

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Southern Laos: Time Out In The 4,000 Islands

It is 6.30am and a bright orange sun is rising behind the mountains. The twin hulls of our boat cut through water that shimmers like glass. Fish jump and buffalo swim. Villagers brush their teeth at the waters edge.
It’s another world, from another era, and I feel like Katherine Hepburn, except that my vessel is a raft strapped on top of two wooden canoes, on top of which, perching like thrones, sit two rattan chairs. It is a rather comical, Heath Robinson contraption, but that can’t detract from the beauty of the scenery and the empty, peaceful atmosphere.
It would be nice to spend the day just sitting and floating, but my destination materialises into view. Don Daeng is one of the many islands in the middle of the Mekong River, here in southern Laos where the river starts to ….

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Consultation On PM’s Decree On Religious Affairs

The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised a two day consultative workshop on the management of religions recently.
About 70 representatives from relevant line ministries and agencies, mass organisations, social organisations and religious groups participating in the consultation process attended the workshop.
The aim of the workshop was to collect the views and opinions of various stakeholders in order to improve the legal framework of Laos that promotes and protects religious freedom….

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New at J&C: Lao Cross-Cultural Training

Why is cross-cultural awareness training important? When working with colleagues from other countries and cultures have you ever been frustrated by the fact that they do things in ways that are fundamentally different to your own? That their priorities in the workplace may differ to yours? That they seem to be sending you mixed messages—and that their body language is confusing?

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Thousands To Attend Vientiane City Pillar Shrine Consecration

Some 2,500 to 3,000 people from across the country are expected to attend the official consecration ceremony of the Vientiane City Pillar Shrine this November 15 to 17.
“The idea behind consecration is to make something sacred and respected. During the ceremony, monks will pray day and night, concentrating on the spirit and teachings of the Buddha, dharma, and the respect of monks and lay-people for this special place.”
The activities will include religious ceremonies and traditional celebrations. Items of value will be placed on …..

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Boun Ork Phansa, The Time For Buddhist Festivities

Boun Ork Phansa is the last day of Buddhist Lent. Taking place three lunar months after Khao Phansa, the day is one steeped in tradition and brought alive by celebrations which begin at dawn and continue on way past dusk.
As morning breaks, people across the country flock to temples to present offerings of money and food to resident monks. The morning offering ceremony is quiet and reflective – the calm before the storm of festivities to come.
On the evening of Boun Ork Phansa, candlelight processions are held around temples in celebration of Lay Heua Fai. The river becomes illuminated as people send small boats made of banana leaves, decorated with flowers and carrying candles down the Mekong. The boats serve as a mark of respect to Buddha and to thank ……

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Vat SiMeuang: The Liveliest Temple In Vientiane

“Mother, please help my son to pass the entrance exam and study in a good school. If he succeeds, I promise to give you two bunches of bananas, two coconuts, a wax castle and five pairs of lighted candles and flowers.”
This is a typical example of the prayers offered up at Vat Simeuang temple in Vientiane every day – a prayer to Nha Mae Simeuang, believed to be the city’s protector. People come here to make their heart’s desires known, and will return with offerings if their prayers are answered. Usually they bring coconuts, candles or money, all of which are laid in abundance at the main altar.
The temple was built in 1563 and houses the much venerated city pillar. Legend has it that the king at that time asked that a hole be dug to install the pillar and it must be large enough for …..

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Death Penalty Is Necessary, But Should Be Humane: NA

The death penalty is necessary for brutal crimes, but the punishment should be implemented fairly and humanely, National Assembly (NA) members have said.
This was the consensus among NA members when they met on Tuesday to debate the amendment of the Law on Criminal Procedure. “The use of the death penalty is unavoidable, but in some cases it should not be done by firing squad,” NA member for Vientiane Prof. Dr Kikeo Khaykhamphithoun said.
“If the international community is interested in why Laos is serious on this matter, we can tell the world that it’s because of our determination to fight crimes like drug trafficking,” Dr Duangsavat said.

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ULUVUS’ New Album Sure To Be A Laugh

ULUVUS, an expatriate rock band, will unveil their new album entitled “55555”, a play on the Lao sense of humour that shows the band are well in tune with Lao culture.
ULUVUS released their first album in 2009, after the band members had been living in Laos for some time, and have been immersing themselves further in the culture ever since.
“55555” is a post that Lao youngsters like to make on Facebook or send as a text message. Vocalised as “ha, ha, ha” this means something is considered to be funny and the new Lao language album is meant to be exactly that, fun for foreigners and Lao people alike.

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Lao Sticky Rice Wine With A Potent Bite

Forget eating the worm after downing your tequila – with these bottles of unusual wine produced in Laos, a tasty tipple comes with a far more potent bite. This potion, known as lao bong ya, is believed to ward off evil spirits and cure the sick.
Because snake venoms are protein-based, they are inactivated by the denaturing effects of ethanol, and thus are no more dangerous, meaning you’ll avoid a pounding hangover.

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Wat Si Muang – Vientiane’s Corner Stone

Wat Si Muang is not as well known as Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Sisaket but Wat Si Muang nevertheless has a special attraction.

Founded in 1563 under the reign of King Setthathirath it was destroyed by the Siamese in 1828, like most other temples in Vientiane, rebuilt in 1915 and renovated in 1960. Wat Si Muang is currently in good condition and well maintained. The temple is situated at the junction of Samsenthai and Setthathirath road. A statue of King Sisavangvong is in a nearby park just next to the main entrance.

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