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Hiking for Buddhas in Laos

Xieng Khuang province

Hiking for Buddhas in Laos. A clearance team last week uncovered Buddha images at a new tourist destination in Xieng Khuang province.

The discovery came as the team cleared land at Xo Mountain in Phoukoud district, finding 12 Buddha images made from silver, bronze and wood, as well as a long piece of metal used for launching a rocket.

Acting Head of the provincial Information and Culture Department Buaso Mingkhomdang told Vientiane Times yesterday that the timing of the discovery was good ahead of the official opening ceremony of the new Xo Mountain tourist estination in April.

The rocket festival on the mountain was considered a special event and has a long history in the province. Xo Mountain is located about 30 minutes walk from the main road in the province. The mountain is being promoted as a tourism destination because of its long history and the beautiful views it offers.

Laos is the only landlocked Southeast Asian country, yet water—more than 50 inches (130 centimeters) of rain falls annually in the northern provinces and the Mekong River flows through nearly 1,140 miles (1,835 kilometers) of Lao territory—shapes the borders, crops, culture, and daily life in this emerging ecotourism destination.

The dry season (November to April) is the best time to embark on a guided hiking tour of the rugged terrain (about 70 percent of the country is mountainous) to view the exotic, endemic wildlife, including leopard cats, Javan mongooses, goat antelopes, and Malayan sun bears. Sign on with Gibbon Experience for low-impact, high-flying travel deep into the remote, northern Bokeo Nature Reserve, home of the rare black-cheeked crested gibbons. Treks begin in neighboring Thailand and cross the Mekong into Laos by boat.

Guests lodge in five canopy-level tree houses linked by an intricate network of zip lines and stewarded by a local guide representing one of Bokeo Province’s 400 villages.

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