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Travel Guide > Asia > Laos > Vieng Xai

Vieng Xai Travel Guide

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Vieng Xai also known as Vien Xay and Vieng Sai is a city in Hua Phan Province. 

The town is located on Rte 6 ,30 kilometre from Sam Neua and 55 kilometre from the Vietnam/Lao border in Ma Meo.

The biggest attraction of the town are the caves. The former Pathet Lao (PL) Revolutionary headquarters of Vieng Xai sit in a striking valley of fertile hills and limestone cliffs riddled with caves, several of which were used to shelter PL officers during the second indo-china war.

During the 1960s, political development in Laos were influential in the future of this whole region.

The United States believed that Laos was crucial in the prevention of communist expansion, so this small country became caught up in the conflict between the US and the north Vietnamese. In 1964, the US began intensive bombing of the Lao communist movement – Pathet Lao – base area in Xieng Khouang. The Pathet Lao moved east to Vieng Xay and these limestone karst cave networks sheltered their headquarters during their struggle wite the American-backed Royal Lao Government.

In these caves the Pathet Lao established a “Hidden City” which supported around 20,000 people. During nine years of almost constant bombing, they sheltered in caves and surrounding jungle. Most of their daily lives were led under cover of darkness. Schools, hospitals and markets as well as government ministries, a radio station, a theatre and military barracks were all hidden in the caves.

In 1973 a ceasefire stopped the bombing and the new town of ViengXay was established as the capital of the liberated zone. On the 2nd of December 1975, the Lao People's Democratic Republic was declared and the capital city was transferred to Vientiane.

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