Monday, September 01, 2008

Sister City - Champasak

According to the HCMC People's Committee website, Champasak is one of its four Sister Cities. Champasak was a kingdom in southern Laos that broke away from the Lan Xang kingdom in 1713. The Kingdom of Champasak prospered at the beginning the 18th century, but it was reduced to a vassal state of Siam before the century had passed. Under French rule the kingdom became an administrative block with its royalty stripped of many of its privileges. The Kingdom of Champasak was abolished in 1946 when the Kingdom of Laos was formed. Not much remains of Champasak apart from a very small rural town of little interest. The pictures above are of Wat Phou, which was built before the Champasak Kingdom and is situated just outside of the original site of the town. Champasak now lends its name to the southern most province of Laos, the capital of the province is Pakse, about 40 km from the original Champasak township.

Photos courtesy of the treehouse


Anonymous said...

Ah Champasak, arse end of the world if I remember correctly? Looks pretty much like a dust bowl from your snaps.

Why would HCMC be a sister city with an ancient capital that no longer exists?

the big e said...

So was Champasak connected to the Khmer empire? I cannot seem to find any info on your links about the connection

angela said...

It looks so sad and deserted..

Burd Zel Krai said...

hi simon!
san fran's a sister city of ho chi minh :) i love september's theme day - so enlightening!
i have a pic i took at cholon posted on my site for this month's theme day. check it out :)
amazing history by the way re champasak. never heard of it - but i agree with anonymous... HCMC People's Committee seems behind the times, so to speak?

burd zel krai

PJ said...

I look at this and see so much history. Our country is so young, so very young in comparison. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

PJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lessie said...

Love the lonely sense of these pictures.

Megumi said...

What sad and unkind here. What you saw in the photos are just the remnants of Wat Phou or the Mountain temple that was established even before the Angkor Wat. It lies at the outskirts of the town of Champasack. Unfortunately, the author did not show photos of the town. Although it looks like a small village, you must remember that Laos has just gotten back to its feet after the civil war.

Laos is a beautiful country. Before you reach Champasak, you have to go through Pakse, the 2nd largest Urban area of Laos. There are so many nice hotels there and so many tourists are coming in to see the natural beauty of the place, especially the waterfalls of the Bolaven plateau. If you are a history buff, you can stay at the Champasak Palace Hotel, a real palace being built by the last royalty, until the civil war overtook him and he had to flee. It has been converted into a hotel. Champasack town is just among the many places that you can go and visit, and the main attraction it offers is the heritage site of Wat Phou, which is currently being restored. Come to Champasak and see for yourself.

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