Vieng Xai is approximately 30 km from the Vietnamese border, 150 km from Hanoi. The town is home to 33,000 people and a great market where you can get a bowl of pho for 5,000 kip. The town is surrounded by green hills and limestone cliffs that house hundreds of caves. Inside these is where the modern political history of Laos began.
Combining proximity to a valuable political ally, a sympathetic local population, and a nearly impregnable defensive position, the Pathet Lao chose Vieng Xai to serve as their headquarters during their resistance against the U.S.
The second conference on trade and investment promotion for the Triangle Development Area - comprised of 10 border provinces in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam - wrapped up in Sihanoukville Feb 17.
The two day conference, attended by about 100 businesspersons and delegations from the three countries, was chaired by Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh.
Of the many dusty sawngthaew rides I've been on in Laos, this one was the dustiest. The grasses and shrubs on the side of the road are all coated in a fine layer of dirt, looking as if they've been bronzed, and by the end of the hour and a half trip from Ban Na Hin to Ban Kong Lo there's dust in my ears and tiny beaches have formed in the folds of my clothes.