Oudomxay provincial authorities are accelerating infrastructure developments to make the province a more viable tourism destination through improved access.
Authorities are building facilities at many key tourist sites including Chom Ong cave, which is fast becoming known as one of Laos’ most spectacular natural features.
The entrance to this cave has been made more accessible and the main road to the site is currently being improved.
An official from the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Bounkuan Mitmeuangxay, told Vientiane Times that progress on the 40km stretch of road from the provincial capital to the cave is 21 percent complete, with the work expected to be finished next year.
Despite some delays last year, construction is speeding up and the project should be completed on schedule, Mr Bounkuan said.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and Chitchareune Construction Co., Ltd. stipulated that construction would take 27 months with completion in 2020. The understanding is that the company will also build a 4,000 square metre parking area, shops, an exhibition room, public toilets and power lines to carry electricity for lighting inside the cave.
Knowing that the cave is likely to grow in popularity, the province wants to ensure the site is well set up and able to cater for large numbers of visitors.
Chom Ong cave is located next to a small Khmu village. The Khmu are one of the more colourful of the 50 ethnic groups that call Laos home.
The road project is funded by the Asian Development Bank at a cost of more than 108 billion kip (US$13 million), according to Mr Bounkuan.
Provincial authorities will print English and Chinese language guidebooks as a special service during Visit Laos-China Year 2019, while local and foreign media will be asked to promote the site.
Oudomxay province is also home to other places of interest. Both locals and tourists love to cool down by the Nam Kat waterfall, while the Singkham Buddha temple is one of the most striking in the province and a lovely venue to offer up a prayer. Elsewhere, the beautiful Tad Talae waterfall is especially impressive after heavy rains.
Oudomxay is also renowned for its delicious local dishes such as sop pak, which is vegetables cooked with sesame, ginger and chilli, and som seen sai mai phai, which is fermented pork mixed with chilli and garlic and packed into a piece of bamboo. Local ethnic groups are particularly adept at making products from cotton and good bargains are available for the discerning buyer.
Oudomxay is located 583km from Vientiane and is accessible via all-weather roads, as well as by air.
During Visit Laos Year 2018, more than 212,600 people visited Oudomxay, spending US$13 million, according to the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.
More information can be obtained from the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department on 030 9163162 or at www.laostourism.org/laos-destinations/oudomxay/.