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China-Laos Railway fuels tourism boom in Laos

Source:Xinhua 2024-02-24

Passengers bound for Laos get on a China-Laos Railway train at Kunmingnan Railway Station in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Feb. 14, 2024. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)

The China-Laos Railway boosts tourism in Laos, as it reduces travel time and offers a comfortable journey, prompting praise from tourists and locals alike.

VIENTIANE, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Laos' scenic attractions are gaining popularity among domestic and international tourists thanks to reduced travel time and a comfortable ride brought by the China-Laos Railway.

A Vietnamese tourist named Thuy Pham Thi Ngoc, taking the train to the tourist hotspot of Vangvieng and Luang Prabang, told Xinhua that it was her first time to take the China-Laos Railway, and she decided to travel by train because it is faster and easier.

Talking about her impression of Laos, she said, "I really enjoy everything in Laos. I like its food and also people."

"I like Laos very much! If I have more free time, I'll come back to Laos again," she added.

A passenger bound for Laos displays a train ticket of China-Laos Railway in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Feb. 14, 2024. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)

A trip from Lao capital Vientiane to northern Luang Prabang province used to take many hours, but now the travel is faster and more convenient.

Amphone Thammvong, a doctor who took the train from Vientiane to her hometown in Luang Prabang province, said that traveling from Luang Prabang to Vientiane was very uncomfortable before the China-Laos Railway opened. It took around six to eight hours by car.

"I don't like traveling by car because it makes me dizzy and feel sick. The train is better. It takes only two hours from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. It's very convenient and saves a lot of time."

Amphone said the train is clean and safe, adding that in the future she wants to take the train to visit China.

"I am going to visit Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang, then I will go to Vangvieng and Mueng Fueng, because these places are very beautiful," a Thai tourist named Sengdao, who traveled with her friends, told Xinhua about her plan for a vacation in Laos.

Tourists watch the sunset in Luang Prabang, Laos, Feb. 16, 2024. (Photo by Kaikeo Saiyasane/Xinhua)

The Lao government and tourism-related businesses are making all efforts to raise its tourism standards for more visitors.

Speaking at a meeting held on Feb. 13, Lao Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune said that over the past year, the ministry of information, culture and tourism has made significant progress including the development, management and promotion of natural, historical, cultural and agricultural tourism by creating and rehabilitating infrastructure and tourism facilities.

The ministry is hoping that more than 6 million Lao and foreign tourists will travel in Laos in 2024.

"Luang Prabang has gained popularity among international tourism destinations, especially over the past two years since the China-Laos Railway became operational, which has created additional benefits for tourism-related businesses," President of the Luang Prabang Hotel and Guesthouse Association Toune Sisouphanthavong told media on the sidelines of the Travel Exchange Trade Fair held in Vientiane in January.

Passengers queue at Luang Prabang railway station of the China-Laos Railway in Luang Prabang, Laos, Dec. 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Lu Yun)

Toune said most foreign tourists visiting Luang Prabang come from Thailand, China and other Asian countries. They mostly enter Laos at crossings on the Laos-Thailand border and continue their journey on the China-Laos Railway.

The China-Laos Railway connects Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan Province with Vientiane. The 1,035-km railway, a landmark project of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, started operation on Dec. 3, 2021.

The railway has also become an international gateway that connects inner and outer neighboring countries for mutual benefits, promoting business cooperation and cultural integration.

The railroad has greatly enhanced Laos' international position, thus turning Laos into an important hub for transportation in the region. 

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