1. Celebrations to start the new year!
In January, Laotians get together over three day and nights to celebrate Boun Phavet, a religious festival to honor the next-to-last incarnation of the Buddha as Prince Vessantara. The Buddhists followers gather in their local temples and listen to the jataka or the story of Lord Buddha as Prince Vessantara. In the temple, monks read aloud from a story called the “Phavet” and devotees recite sections of the tale with the monks. The recitals are carried out in temples all over the country and this period is also considered as a favorable time for monks to be ordinated and for Buddhist to seek the guidance of fortunetellers to receive commendatory dates for important family events such as weddings. This event is also celebrated annually in the close-by countries Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.
2. Historic meteorite landing site to be in Laos?
For decades, scientists have known that a 2-kilometer large meteorite landed on earth around 800’000 years ago. However, the location of the impact sight remained unknown. Newest evidence has now identified the landing zone to have been probably in a calculated 13-km wide and 17-km long crater in Laos, hidden underneath a volcanic field covered with lava. Many attempts have been made by scientists to find this impact site, with possible locations ranging from northern Cambodia, central Laos to southern China. As a next step, scientists must drill into the volcanic rocks in the area to see if the type of rocks expected for such meteorite impact site can be found. Although the theory is yet to be confirmed, the lasting scientific mystery might be coming to an end…
3. The future of tourism
After a low turnout of tourists in 2018, Laos got its tourist arrivals back into favorable levels with 4.58 million people visiting in 2019. For a long time, Laos’ mountainous terrains, Buddhist monasteries and hill tribe settlements remained isolated from the outside world and the tourism industry. However, over the past years, tourism has steadily increased with a 9% increase alone from 2018 to 2019. Travelers now are being drawn to the cultural sites and laid-back lifestyle that has disappeared elsewhere in the region. Luang Prabang (the ancient capital of the Luang Prabang Province in northern Laos,) the Mekong River and the riverside town Vang Vieng are currently some of the most attractive tourist destinations. If you are interested to read more about the top tourist attractions, a website you can visit is https://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-laos/