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  7. Sayabouri, the Elephant city

Sayabouri is a city located in Northern Laos, 2 hours drive from Luang Prabang. This region has always been the stronghold of elephants that lived historically wild in hordes. The area was also probably a normal path for elephant transhumance from north to south of Asia.

Today, the city hosts each year the elephant festival which usually takes place during the second half of February, the third weekend. Dates are unfortunately given at the last moment. For that special 3-day festival, the city welcome more than 25.000 persons. in a 5,000 inhabitants city, the principle is homestay accommodation. Attempting to book a room in a hotel of any category is a dream.

The region is very beautiful and the province has distinguished itself very early from other regions by adopting ecological standards, long before they were discussed at the national level.

The Elephant Conservation Centre

The centre itself is worth a detour (see article about the Centre). The place is unique in Laos. Looking for the entry door, only accessible by boat through a little cruise on the lake, the place is charming. The owner and the staff are completely dedicated to the pachyderms, a clinic was set up to help injured or sick elephants. Vistors will find a little museum about elephants, and many books about the subject.

Le Vat Si Bounheuang

in the southern part of Sayaboury, in the airport area, you will find ruins of an old temple (300, 700 year old ???). Renovation of the place to protect the old bricks have been started in 2016.

We will admire the laying meditating Buddha, and the pains about Buddha’s life and principle of karma are beautiful.

Le Vat Na Niao

We can also visit the temple Wat Na Niao, in the village Ban Khen Keo where something quite incredible happened 5th month of year 2557 (couple of days before Lao New Yer, mid-April). Kamnoui, a young man a bit lunatic, native of the village, discovered a huge trunk (with a diameter about 2 meter) in a neighbouring river close to the village.

Back home, Kamnoui described his find to his parents, Mr. Bountheung and Mrs. Venphet, farmers, but only got incredulity... Without the help of Khamnoui’s uncle, Mr. Bountiane Khounphadit, the trunk would certainly remain where he had been sleeping since we do not know how long. Because during the life of the village, no one had ever noticed the massive and straight like a "i" trunk resting all along. In its perfect state of conservation, it could clearly be predicted of a very dense tree essence, noble, and probably rare in view of its ash colour so singular ... For Khamnoui whose life has not always been very easy is like winning the lottery.

A party (a Boun) was organized to rally the friends and together get out the piece of wood from his bed. Five jars of 20 litres of laolao (local sake) and five big chickens were brought for the festivities to motivate the crowd. Came the moment when it was necessary to get of the precious piece of wood from water. The story (verifiable) says that it was not so easy, and that it was necessary to take several times, and that each time we increased significantly the means, but that nothing made there, that 4x4 vehicles were combined in large numbers to arrive, and after six hours of unsuccessful attempts, the tree finally came out of its coffin.

The tree measured in fact 37 meters, for 2.60 meters in circumference, an exemplary straightness, a weight of more than 11 tons, and especially an estimated age around 900 years after analysis of a sample ...

A beautiful temple, where it is customary to sound the gong caressing it in his heart. The donations (2.000 kip, more if you want) are particularly recommended: they would bring the chance, "the Boun"... another story of Buddhist karma, also verifiable.

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