Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Sakura cherry blossom in Huaphan province/ photo by Vientiane Times

Huaphan province authorities are preparing activities as part of a festival next month to celebrate the blooming of peach and sakura cherry trees in Xamneua and Viengxay districts.

Events include a Miss Peach Blossom contest and a singing contest, as well as fairs selling a range of goods produced in Laos and other countries.
Visitors will be able to take photos of peach and sakura blossom at the Laos-Japan Friendship Sakura Park, with the trees now coming into full bloom, according to the Huaphan provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.

The festival will take place from December 23-26 when provincial authorities will plant more peach trees and formally declare the peach flower as the special flower of Huaphan province.
Each year, around 20,000 people visit the Laos-Japan Friendship Sakura Park. The park was officially opened in February 2015 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Laos-Japan diplomatic relations. Approximately 300 sakura saplings were donated by Japanese friendship associations and NGOs, including Asian Development with Disabled Persons (ADDP) and the Saitama-Laos Friendship Association, as a token of friendship between the two countries.

Huaphan province is located in the far north of Laos, about 600km from Vientiane and has many visitor attractions. It is renowned for its stunning waterfalls, including Sa Lery, Tadloun and Phavang, as well as Tham Hang cave and the Hiem and Nam Meuang hot springs, the Hintang archaeological site, and the Nam Et-Phouleuy National Protected Area. The province is also home to Pha Thee Mountain and has a large city pillar in the provincial capital.

Visitors will also enjoy the local food, including jeo pa bam (fish with chilli sauce), chicken soup, and phan seen (pork with chilli and herbs wrapped in pomelo leaves). Huaphan has 152 officially designated tourist sites, of which 51 are nature-based, 35 are of cultural interest, and 66 are historical, with 54 of these sites open to the public.

Source: Vientiane Times

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