On the way to contemplate the ancient capital of Luang Phrabang, I, by chance, sat on a car with Mr. Nguyen Dinh Ba, deputy Director of External Economic Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Mr. Ba is called “Luang Phrabangist” because he has a good command of Lao language and a wide knowledge on Luang Phrabang’s customs. Mr. Ba used to be a Vietnamese volunteer soldier to Luang Phrabang for several years. He later worked as a coordinator for Vietnam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee.
Mr. Ba told that in the history of Laos, in the 7th century, King Khunlo set up his kingdom in Muongxoa (present Luang Phrabang) and his six siblings governed small kingdoms nearby. In the 14th century, King Phangum united these small kingdoms to become Lanxang Kingdom (Million Elephants) and set up the capital in Luang Phrabang, opening up the most brilliant development period in the history of Lao feudalism.
In mid the 16th century, King Xetthathilat moved the capital from Luang Phrabang to Vientiane. As an ancient capital, Luang Phrabang remains a holy area with typical historical and cultural tradition of Laos and the centre of Buddhism as well. In 1995, Luang Phrabang was the first heritage in Laos to be recognized as a world’s heritage by UNESCO.
In the fight against foreign invaders, Vietnam had always received great support and assistance from Luang Phrabang’s people and soldiers especially, in the historic victory of Dien Bien Phu Campaign. NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and his entourage were so excited and moved at the art performance and the sentiment of Luanphrabang’s people during a ceremony to tie threads around the wrists as a symbol of best wishes.
In a talk with key cadres of Luang Phrabang Province, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung appreciated the cooperation and mutual support between the province and Vietnamese localities. He also stressed that the ties between the two Parties, two States and two Peoples has been promoted and developed in every field over the past years. He focused on the fruitful and efficient cooperation on investment and trade, which had importantly contributed to the cause of national socio-economic development of each country.
He hoped that with great efforts and determination of two Parties, two States and two Peoples, the friendship and special solidarity as well as comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos would further develope, meeting the two peoples’ expectation. This would lay foundation to strongly boost cooperation among Laos and Vietnam localities, including Luang Phrabang Province in the coming time.
NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung also expressed a gratitude to Luang Phrabang Province for their care for the Vietnamese community by creating favourable conditions for them to live in harmony with the Lao people and to contribute to the development of Laos as well. This in turn would serve as a bridge to boost mutual understanding, close and special ties between Vietnam and Laos.
According to Mr. Khampheng Saysompheng, Secretary of Luang Phrabang Provincial Party Committee cum the governor of the province, despite rapid socio- economic development, Luang Phrabang province could still preserve its ancient features. The province’s GDP had yearly increased by 5.59 per cent on average. The province has 43 FDI projects, totally valued at US $78.28 million, in the fields of industry, agriculture, mineral ores exploitation and transport and communication.
Notably, with 129 tourist sites, the Province yearly welcomes half a million tourists, who are keen on exploring relics, natural landscapes and cuisine of Laos as well as exchanging with local people.
The visit to Xiengmuon tourist village is another surprise to us with the traditional dances and songs performed by local people as well as typical tourist products of the ancient capital, such as fine silver and gold products, cloth and hand-embroided pictures.
Xiengmuon, in particular and Luang Phrabang, in general have various typical tourist products but what impressed us most was the smile of local people and their honesty and hospitality. They welcomed the Vietnamese guests as their own relatives.
Mr. Khampheng Saysompheng said Luang Phrabang will soon become a developing economic zone in Laos with various businesses with China, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. At present, many Vietnamese enterprises from Hanoi, Nghe An, Son La and HCM City have come to Luang Phrabang to explore opportunities and open their agents and restaurants.
He also added that the comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos is developing well. The two sides are forming a cooperation mechanism for bilateral comprehensive development at various levels. Furthermore, they have also applied policies to encourage and create favourable conditions for their enterprises to boost their investment cooperation. That is a favourable condition for Luang Phrabang and Laos localities to integrate and make breakthrough for rapid development.
Written by Do Phu Tho Translated by Mai Huong