Source: Vientiane Times
Luang Prabang province is planning a colourful programme of activities for Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) from April from 10-25 in the hope of attracting more visitors, although traditional events will be scaled down this year.
The official Lao New Year holiday normally takes place from April 14-16, but this year Luang Prabang plans to extend the celebration to give a boost to the Lao Thaio Laos (Lao Visit Laos) tourism campaign and revitalise the province’s flagging tourist industry.
However, the Director of Luang Prabang province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Dr Soudaphone Khomthavong, told Vientiane Times that while traditional Lao New Year festivities would take place from April 14-16 they would not include the usual Nang Sang Khan contest and parade.
The decision was made to withdraw these popular events from the programme in order to reduce crowding in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But there will be plenty of other opportunities for enjoyment during a visit to the scenic northern province and visitors can enjoy a plethora of other attractions.
In a bid to encourage visitors, provincial authorities will organise jet ski races on the Mekong river on April 10, Dr Soudaphone said. Following this, on April 13 an elephant procession will set off from Vat Mai to Vat Xiengthong, while on April 14 visitors can pour water over Buddha images at every temple in the province and go down to rivers to make sand stupas for good luck.
On April 15 there will be a traditional Lao New Year procession. From April 10-25 visitors can take part in other leisure activities but must comply with government guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Luang Prabang has also launched the Luang Prabang 555 campaign in support of the Lao Thaio Laos drive, encouraging visitors to explore five mountains, five rivers and five hills.
The province has long been a tourist hotspot because of its rivers, numerous temples, small town atmosphere, arts and crafts, and attractive architecture.
The capital’s old town was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1995 due to its outstanding universal values.
Luang Prabang province is located in a mountainous area and its small capital lies on a peninsula formed by the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, while ranges of hills encircle the city in lush greenery. The province contains a multitude of fascinating sights, quaint corners and stunning landscapes, so tourists will not be disappointed and will want to linger longer. Among the attractions are Kuang Si and Tad Sae waterfalls which are perfect places for a refreshing swim and a picnic.
Another must-see is Tham Ting cave which lies on the Mekong riverbank and contains numerous Buddha images. There are frequent boat rides to the cave which take sightseers through bucolic riverside scenery.
Last year, the province suffered a sharp decline in tourism because of the pandemic and only 275,647 people were recorded as visiting Luang Prabang – a drop of 68 percent compared to 2019.