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Central Provinces
The Wonders of the Central Provinces

BolikhamxayKhammouaneSavannakhetVientianeVientiane Capital

People & Places
The region’s historic Vientiane Capital is home to the country’s most important religious monument and national symbol, That Luang (The Great Sacred Stupa), which was built in 1566 by the King Sayasetthathirath and believed to hold relics of the Lord Buddha. Other important national monuments in Vientiane Capital include Patuxay (Victory Gate), Wat Sisaket, Wat Hor Phakeo, and Wat Si Meuang. The ethnic group of the central region consists mostly of lowland Lao groups, such as the Lao and the Tai Phuan and some ethnic minorities including the Hmong and Khmu. Handicrafts and traditional weaving is produced in many villages throughout the region and is available in markets, such as Talat Sao (Morning Market) in Vientiane Capital. Some of the most colorful festivals in the country can be seen here as well, such as the Boat Racing and That Luang festivals in Vientiane and the Bang Fai Phayanak (Naga Rocket Festival) in Bolikhamxay.

Geography & Nature
This region is a land of karst mountains, plateaus, meandering rivers and biologically rich forests. The stretch of the Mekong River between Vientiane and Bolikhamxay offers excellent sunset views and relaxing locations for  picnic and dining. The Nam Lik (Lik River) and the Nam Ngum (Ngum River) are good places for rafting and kayaking enthusiasts. The karst mountains found in Vang Vieng, Bolikhamxay and in Khammouane Provinces are stunning. Inside Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area (NPA) are a variety of ecotourism attractions including Tad Xay (Xay fall) and Tad Leuk (Leuk fall), camping, trekking, and wild elephant watching. The Nam Kading NPA in Bolikhamxay also has plentiful wildlife and great potential for nature tourism.