Free city tours for guests during the 25th SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Accommodation, Food and Tourism Committee of the 25th SEA Games will organise free shuttle buses giving city tours for invited guests and athletes attending the event in Vientiane from December 9 to 18.

Deputy Director of the committee, Dr Sila Mounthalavong yesterday said the shuttle buses will be part of the committee's service to promote tourism during the games.

“Guests and athletes will be able to explore the city and visit famous historic and cultural sites, while also enjoying shopping at handicraft stores and malls in the capital,” he said.

Dr Sila, who is also Vice Chairman of the Lao National Tourism Administration, said the committee would organise for some hotels and the SEA Games' Athletes' Village to sell special tour programmes for various locations around Laos .

Domestic tour operators will also sell tour packages to regional and international visitors who want to see the games and travel through Laos , he said.

“We are in the process of sending information on our package tour programmes to SEA Games Organising Committees in other countries to help us promote the programmes in those countries in the lead-up to the games,” he said.

Dr Sila said the committee also plans to print tourist handbooks to provide information about entering Laos and other details on accommodation, food, shopping places and tourist sites.

In addition, the committee will print maps to facilitate visitors touring the nation.

“Upgrading the quality of services in hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and tour guides is also important so we can provide the best services possible for those attending the games in Vientiane ,” he said.

“Advertising the games effectively can not be achieved by one sector alone, but needs all sectors and people to get involved,” he said.

Popular historic and cultural tourism sites in central Vientiane include the city's oldest temple, Vat Sisaket, which contains thousands of miniature Buddha images, and the former royal temple of Vat Prakeo where the famous Emerald Buddha image was previously housed.

A visit to the nation's symbol, the sacred structure of Thatluang Stupa where Lao people from around the nation gather to worship on significant days of the year, should be on any tourists agenda.

A day in the city can be rounded off with a trip to Patuxay Monument , known as Vientiane 's own Arc de Triumph, and viewing the sunset by the banks of the Mekong River .

Buddha Park , or Xieng Khuan, is one of Vientiane 's major cultural tourism sites located on the banks of the Mekong River on outskirts of the city.

The park contains hundreds of statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities. On the pleasant 28km journey along Thadeua road to the park visitors will also pass the National Cultural Park and the Lao-Thai International Friendship Bridge.

By Panyasith Thammavongsa

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