New Lao night plaza is now 80% before SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Thursday, June 25, 2009

Photo: Vientiane 's latest tourist attraction is under construction in the city centre

A new night plaza under construction in Vientiane could alleviate the city's hunger for parking spaces.

The plaza is now 80 percent complete with work set to be finished in September. It will have parking spaces for about 300 vehicles.

Authorities say they want to limit the number of vehicles parking on city streets to avoid traffic chaos, but cannot make changes at present because there are no alternative parking areas.

The night plaza will be the first in Laos and will be known as the ‘Vientiane 450 Vangthong Night Plaza'. It will be open 24 hours a day and provide some night-time buzz for locals and visitors.

The plaza will consist of six 2-storey buildings containing restaurants, a health centre, barber shop and beauty salon, as well as shops selling handicrafts, jewellery, organic farm products and clothing.

Musical entertainment will also be offered so that tourists can experience Lao culture. Goods on sale will be zoned to make life easy for shoppers.

The project has been designed by Vientiane authorities, but is financed by local businesses with a 40-year concession period. Registered investment capital is 25 billion kip.

The plaza will be operational in time for the SEA Games in December and the 450th anniversary of Vientiane as the capital of Laos next year.

Plaza Director Phouvong Phamisith said facilities on offer would be similar to those at plazas in Chiang Mai , Thailand .

“We will give priority to the sale of products made by villagers to encourage local productivity,” he said. “There will be a variety of food on sale, including dishes from Laos , Thailand and Europe .”

Mr Phouvong said he would arrange for Lao tour operators to bring tourists to the night plaza.

Market produce will not be sold here as the plaza is targeting the tourist trade.

Between 60 and 70 people will be employed at the plaza, with 3,000 to 4,000 people expected to visit every day, Mr Phouvong said.

“There is no night plaza in Vientiane at present so the authorities came to us and said they wanted to build one to give tourist s more choices. We agreed to take on the project as we want to help the country to promote tourism,” he said.

Half of the units in the six buildings have been reserved, with rents depending on size and location. The rental price of a 4m x 3m unit on the first floor is 1.4 million kip a month, but is 1.1 million kip on the second floor.

Other units are available for about 74,000 kip and 37,000 kip, or for 13,000 kip a day.

By Somsack Pongkhao

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