VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Authorities in Khammuan province are reopening tourist sites and making improvements to visitor facilities in readiness for visitors when the Lao Thiao Lao (Lao Visit Laos) tourism campaign resumes next year.
Tourist attractions in Khammuan will reopen but staff and visitors must comply with infection control measures to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19, while restaurants at these sites will not be allowed to sell alcohol.
Site operators will be fined if they break the rules.
Hotels and guesthouses are also preparing to reopen but must first be assessed by the province’s Covid-19 taskforce.
Khammuan authorities are upgrading some sites and developing Tham Xang and Tham Xieng as new sites while also preparing new activities and facilities for visitors.
The province is a popular tourist destination and is renowned for its scenic landscape and numerous caves.
Authorities will improve standards and services at hotels and guesthouses and will work with the health department to ensure that travel is safe for visitors next year.
As part of safety measures, staff at hotels and guesthouses must check employees’ and customers’ temperature for signs of fever. Guests must also produce a document proving they have had two doses of a Covid vaccine.
People can eat inside restaurants but must follow the rules on social distancing and tables must be placed at least one metre apart. Restaurants must not sell alcohol and must close at 10 pm.
Khammuan province is home to a plethora of natural wonders including the caves Tham Nang Aen, Tham Pha Nha, Tham Pha, Tham Konglor and Tham Xebangfay.
Sites such as Kamphengyak, which is otherwise known as the Giant Wall, and the Sangsou and Nam Sanam waterfalls are equally magnificent.
Phou Phamarn hill offers adventure activities such as zip-lines, a canopy walkway through the trees, and hikes led by guides through forested areas to observe wildlife.
Visitors to Khammuan should make sure they sample some of the area’s tasty snacks. Khaonompan, which is flour mixed with beans and coconut, khaokhop - a sticky rice cake - and mam, which is pork or beef mixed with onions, chilli and herbs, are especially popular.
Also of interest to visitors are locally-made goods such as rice baskets made from woven bamboo, as well as clothing and other items made from naturally dyed cotton.
According to Khammuan authorities, the province has 198 officially designated tourist attractions of which 139 are nature-based, 30 are of cultural interest, and 29 have historical associations.