Expat RescourcesTravel & Tourism

Capturing the Magic of Sunrise in Vangvieng 

Source: Vientiane Times

As the sun peeked over the horizon, painting the sky with hues of gold and pink, from my vantage point at the Pha Hor Kham viewpoint I immersed myself in the tranquility of the early morning and the panoramic views spread below me.   

The viewpoint is the summit of one of the many limestone karst outcrops scattered around Vangvieng district in Vientiane province, which tower like brooding sentinels and cast long shadows over the verdant valley below.

Their jagged peaks were shrouded in a soft, ethereal haze, creating an otherworldly atmosphere that gave visitors the impression they had entered a realm untouched by time.

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The lush greenery that carpeted the valley floor glistened with dew, with the green grass and leafy trees shimmering in the soft morning light.
In the distance we could see colourful hot air balloons gliding through the pink-tinged early morning sky.

As I watched the sun climb higher, bathing the landscape in a golden light, I became aware of my friends around me, who were also observing the sunrise and posing for photos.

We had brought a small gas stove to boil water so we could have hot drinks. One friend had made some of her special cookies, which were greatly appreciated along with the tea and coffee that warmed us in the chilly morning air. It’s noticed that our trip was during December so the weather is quite cool in the morning.

There are actually two connected viewpoints at this location, one topped with a model airplane and the other bearing a statuesque winged white horse, with a short walk between

Visitors stop to venerate a statue of Buddha on the way down from the viewpoint.

them. It was fun to sit on the plane and strike poses as we smiled and joked against the stunning backdrop of the limestone peaks, which provided some great photo opportunities.
Each of these viewpoints has slightly different aspects, while there is also a wooden hut in which to sit and enjoy the dramatic landscape.
After making the most of this magical environment and filling our lungs with fresh air and our stomachs with healthy snacks while sipping tea and coffee, we headed back down the hill, making several stops including at caves with Buddha statues and paintings of the Buddha.

Fabulous morning views from Pha Hor Kham viewpoint in Vangvieng.

To catch the morning sunrise, we awoke at 5am and walked up the hill, which was not too high, taking about 30 minutes to reach the top.

In order to be up at the crack of dawn, we camped at the base of the hill the night before. The site manager provided us with some essential cooking utensils.
There are also toilets and bathing rooms, while the staff stayed at their small shop as a security measure, so that we were not alone.

The site is accessible by car and there is ample parking space. It is about a 25km or 30-minute drive from the town of Vangvieng, in the same direction as the popular blue lagoon swimming spots.