Laos: Chom Ong cave, one of the longest in South-East Asia, opened as new visitor attraction

VIENTIANE, Feb 2 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Oudomxay province has officially opened Chom Ong cave, said to be one of the longest in Southeast Asia as a drawcard for visitors, hoping to make the province a more viable tourist destination.

The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Dr Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune and Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Ounthuang Khaophanh attended the event.

The 16 km-long cave is said to be one of the longest in South-East Asia. It is located near a Khmu village called Chom Ong, which is 48 km from the centre of Xay district in the northern province.

Speaking at the opening event, Ounthuang said Oudomxay has abundant resources with much to interest tourists because of its cultural and natural attractions and colourful ethnic groups.

The government has recognised the province’s potential as a tourist destination and considers the development of these resources as a priority in bolstering the economy.

“I believe the development and creation of facilities for visitors will be a driving force for tourism in Laos,” he added.

Provincial authorities have provided numerous amenities to enable access to the cave and make it convenient for visitors. A 40km road leading from the provincial capital to the cave has been built, along with a parking area, shops, an exhibition room, public toilets, and power lines to carry electricity to light the cave’s interior.

Construction of the road was funded by the Asian Development Bank at a cost of more than 108 billion kip (US$13 million), according to the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.

The province is set to make the most of Chom Ong cave as a tourist attraction.

While visiting the area, tourists can go trekking, swim in a nearby river, and take part in the traditional dances and lifestyle of the Khmu ethnic group, according to an official.

Oudomxay is located 583km from Vientiane and is accessible via all-weather roads, as well as by air.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee Thongloun Sisoulith has sent a message of congratulations to his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong on his re-lection as the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee.

In his message, Thongloun said "On the occasion of our comrade's re-election as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Vietnam Central Committee at the 13th National Congress, I, on behalf of the Central Committee and on my own behalf, would like to express my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to our comrade."

"We are committed to continue to work with your comrade and the new leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam to further enhance the unique and pure special relationship between Laos and Vietnam to gain fruitful outcomes and bring tangible benefits to the peoples of our two countries," the message read.

Thongloun said he hoped the great friendly relations, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, the two states and the two peoples would yield even more fruitful and infinite outcomes for the benefit of the peoples of Laos and Vietnam, as well as in the interests of peace, friendship, cooperation and development in the region and the world. - Xinhua
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