Pakxong to Build Largest Buddha in ASEAN


By Ekaphone Phouthonesy

Pakxong District on the Bolaven Plateau in Champassak Province plans to build the largest Buddha image in ASEAN as a key icon to attract local and international tourists, according to the district governor.

During an interview with visiting journalists from Vientiane last week, Vichit Keobouapha said the Lao government had given the green light to two companies to conduct two large tourism investment projects in the district; one of them is the construction of the largest Buddha image in ASEAN.

“The 108 metre tall Buddha image will be built on the top of a volcanic mountain on Bolaven Plateau, some 3 km from the Pakxong district administration office,” he said. “This statue will be the largest ever built in ASEAN,” he added.

In addition to the construction of the tourist icon, the district will also develop the area surrounding the volcanic mountain locally known as “Thevada Mountain” into a botanical garden and cultural attraction and Buddhist temple.

Statues of Lao revolutionary leaders will be installed along both sides of the road leading to the top of the volcanic mountain where the largest Buddha image will be located.

This project proposal also includes the construction of a golf course and international sport centre and other tourism related facilities, Mr Vichit said. 

Mr Vichit said another investment project, which the private firms were studying, is the construction of model Lao villages which showcase a variety of local cultures and lifestyles.

At present, district authorities are unable to provide details about the exact investment and a timeframe for developing these tourism facilities. However, they believe the development projects will help transform

Pakxong into one of the top tourist destinations in southern Laos. Mr Vichit said the district authorities had developed a clear vision and strategy to transform the district into a key tourist destination and agricultural production base in southern Laos.

He said the development concept was based on utilising existing district potential, adding that with support from the government, private sector and development partners, district authorities would be able to realise the dream.

According to him, the district has more than 37 tourist sites, but only seven or eight have been developed and are able to provide services to tourists. One of the waterfalls in Pakxong has been given the title of “ASEAN tourist destination” thanks to its natural beauty.

More than 189,000 tourists have visited Pakxong district this year. This indicates the district’s existing tourism appeal, one of the key elements to make the investment projects possible.

Mr Vichit said another key strategic pillar Pakxong authorities were focusing on is agricultural development, adding the district has large tracts of fertile land that can be used to grow organic vegetables and fruits.

Currently, the key crops in the district are coffee and Chinese cabbage. Coffee plantations cover 45,000 hectares. The district exports vegetables to Thailand under contract farming.

Analysis indicates tourism and clean agriculture development are inter-related. In addition to experiencing the beauty of nature and fresh air on the plateau, visitors can have access to clean and organic vegetables.

Local and international companies have been flocking to purchase land in Pakxong district hoping that real estate prices will continue to increase in future.

Source: Vientiane Times