Chiang Mai – Xam Nua Return

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Absolutely fantastic trip report and gorgeous pictures too!
    Happy Trails!
    Tony
     
  2. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #52 DavidFL, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    Bump for Moto-Rex's post
    The Golden Triangle on the Laos side.
     
  3. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

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    AT's still looking great - a forum headline pic here.

    Great report and pix, but that high-speed train service is going to be an ethnic game-changer.
    As you say ride those roads before things change completely.
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    An Update on the controversial train project

    2013-0415 - Time - Laos’ Mammoth Train Project a Fast Track to Debt and Despair

     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    The vdo clip

     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    From 2011 to 2013 ....& looking for somewhere to place some Houei Xai photos.
    These photos taken on 11-12.12.13, waiting for the 4th Mekong Friendship Bridge to open.

    The Versys working as a model

    295335=17901-IMG_2781.

    The Mekong river

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    Wat Jom Manilat

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    Wat Thad Suvannaphakham, downstream from town

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    295335=17911-IMG_8632.
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    An interesting update on The Kings Roman Casino city development complex
    2014-0122 - Radio Free Asia - Lao Rice Farmers Defy Police Orders to Give Up Land to Chinese Firm

    http://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/landgrab-01222014215351.html

    Lao Rice Farmers Defy Police Orders to Give Up Land to Chinese Firm

    2014-01-22

    In a rare act of resistance, dozens of rice farmers in northern Laos have defied armed police orders to vacate land seized by a Chinese company wanting to build an airport as part of a casino-driven special economic zone, according to villagers .

    The 50-odd farmers refused to budge when policemen, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, moved on Friday to enforce an order by the King Romans (Dok Ngiew Kham) Group for the farmers to leave their rice fields to pave way for the construction of the airport in Tonpheung district in Bokeo province.

    The farmers, who have been cultivating paddy in the area for generations, defiantly stood in front of bulldozers sent to flatten their rice fields, forcing the company to seek police intervention.

    "When the policemen arrived and told the villagers, 'Move out! Move out!,' the villagers angrily replied,'No way, No way,'" a villager told RFA's Lao Service.

    "Why are the police and military, instead of helping the people, helping the 'Tiao Nai' traitors who are selling the nation’s land away,"
    the villager asked, apparently referring to local high officials involved in the land deal with King Romans which is building the airport as part of a Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone project almost exclusively catering to Chinese investors.

    ”We do not have money to buy land to cultivate a new rice field," one farmer was quoted saying to the police. "Once the rice fields have been taken away, we will have nothing left. It’s like having our hands and feet cut off.”

    Following the farmers' refusal to budge, the police retreated at the weekend.

    Not taking chances

    But the farmers, who come from six villages in Tonpheung district, are not taking any chances. They are taking turns daily to guard their land round-the-clock to prevent the bulldozers from entering their rice fields.

    "We will continue to keep vigil over our land," one villager said.

    This is the second attempt by the Chinese company to clear the villagers' rice fields covering about 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) for the airport project .

    According to sources, King Romans had attempted to clear the land in 2012 but the villagers resisted although the police were not called in at that time.

    The one party Lao communist government has conceded to King Romans 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of land—3,000 hectares (7,410 acres) of which are dedicated to the SEZ—for 99 years, with the objective of promoting trade, investment and tourism.

    The SEZ, which is tax exempt, began construction in the early 2000s and now includes an international border checkpoint and river port, the King Romans Casino, hotels, and a Chinatown market with as many as 70 restaurants and shops selling a variety of retail.

    According to the villagers, the Chinese company offered to compensate them 110,000 Thai baht (U.S. $3,340) per rai (1,600 square meters) — 30,000 baht (about U.S. $900) for the land and 80,000 baht (U.S. $2,429) for crop loss but the offer was rejected as extremely low.

    "Even 500,000 baht [U.S. $15,190] is still a small sum," one villager said, without stating clearly whether they would accept any higher compensation.

    Negotiations

    A local Lao official in Bokeo told RFA that the authorities will continue to negotiate with the farmers over the compensation although it is not clear when such talks will be held.

    “First, the villagers wanted a compensation of one million baht [U.S. $30,370] per rai, then the figure came down to 500,000 baht [U.S. $15,190] but according to the Prime Minister's decree, the highest compensation the government can give is 114,000 baht [$U.S. 3,460] per rai,” the official said.

    He said the villagers have stopped their protests and agreed to meet with officials over the compensation.

    Reported by RFA's Lao Service. Translated by Somnet Inthapannha. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.
     
  8. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

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    Hey, there's already a runway up in that area, altho perhaps a bit overgrown.

    Following from the Air America site book for Laos, April 1974:

    LS-305 Ban Ton Phung PC 1542

    20-16N x 100-06E

    Elev 1250 ft 800 x 68 soil 17/35

    Soft when wet

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Mac
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Another article on that high speed trail still slated for Laos.

    AND

    A vdo clip
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Want to know more about Kings Roman & the Chinese Golden Triangle Casino city, go here
    https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34817-ON-THE-TRAIL-OF-A-quot-MULE-quot-A-Drug-Run-Through-The-Golden-Triangle/page2?p=304506#post304506
     
  11. CraigBKK

    CraigBKK Ol'Timer

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    Wow there's even a Lao 'Walking street' (a closer translation from the Lao than 'Shopping street')

    c0fe0a286f9d3d3e4d46a13febc04b3f_zpsaa289912.

    Nothing like the the one I know in Pattaya I hope! :crazy:
     
  12. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

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    lol. Give it time.
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    The train project is still going ahead

    Luang Prabang Awaits Decision on Mekong Railway Bridge

    A Chinese construction company will soon visit Luang Prabang to decide on suitable locations for a railway bridge across the Mekong River and a port that will be used to handle the construction materials needed to build the railway.
    The railway bridge is part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway that will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane.
    The construction company and provincial authorities will look at possible sites for the bridge and the port, which will receive construction equipment shipped in by river.
    A provincial official, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Thursday “The railway bridge may be built in the town of Luang Prabang, not far from a new bridge that will be built across the Mekong to link the town to Chomphet district.”
    This site is not thought to be within the Luang Prabang World Heritage Site, for which a preservation order exists.
    The provincial Public Works and Transport Department and provincial Natural Resources and Environment Department will consider whether the sites proposed by the construction company are suitable.
    It is not known when construction of either the bridge or the port would begin as the Chinese company has not yet supplied any details.
    Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay addressed the issue at the National Assembly this week, answering questions put by Assembly members concerning the railway, with construction scheduled to begin in December.
    The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 billion and will run from the border area of Boten in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane. It is scheduled for completion in 2021. The project is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.
    Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchan Sinthavong told the National Assembly that the railway will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane and the next phase will extend the track to Thailand.
    A railway will also be built to connect Khammuan province’s Thakhaek district to the Vietnamese border, from where it will run to a coastal port in Vietnam. Another track will be built from Thakhaek to the Cambodian border.
    The Laos-China railway will have a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track. There will be 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.
    There will be 72 tunnels with a total length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s total length. The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total. Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.
    Source: Vientiane Times
     
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Another King Roman Update - the airport project is no more.

    264369-603-img_2666-.

    Chinese Developers Abandon International Airport Project in Laos SEZ

    An international airport project scheduled for construction by a Chinese developer in northwestern Laos’s Bokeo province has been canceled so that an airport built earlier in the province may be upgraded instead, sources say.

    The abandoned project was to have been built on land taken by the King Romans Group from local villagers in 2014, a move leading to standoffs between angry farmers and armed guards sent to enforce the order to seize the land.

    Speaking to RFA’s Lao Service this week, a Lao government official confirmed the project had been canceled.

    “[Project owners] will not pursue construction and are canceling the work because the government plans to upgrade the provincial airport in Bokeo,” Somboun Daosawan, a manager in charge of airports at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said.

    “We have proposed that only that airport can be used in Bokeo,” he said.

    A Lao official responsible for the Chinese-developed special economic zone the new airport would have served also said that work on the project would now stop.

    “Technical officials in the Civil Aviation Department now see that the [proposed] airport is not in the right location,” Chanthavy Phothisane, vice chairman of the provincial committee for special economic zones, said.

    “Instead, they are planning to improve the provincial airport,” he said.

    Villagers displaced

    The King Romans special economic zone (SEZ), incorporating land granted for 99 years in concession by the Lao government, began construction in the early 2000s and now includes an international border checkpoint and river port, a casino, hotels, and a Chinatown market with around 70 restaurants and shops selling a variety of retail goods.

    Plans for the international airport project, which affected several villages in Bokeo’s Tonepheung district, were not made public until early 2013, after the Lao government signed a memorandum of understanding with the company.

    In January 2014, farmers fearing displacement defied orders to vacate their land, standing in front of bulldozers sent to flatten their rice fields and forcing armed police deployed by King Romans to retreat.

    Chinese workers favored

    Villagers uprooted by the project were poorly compensated and were refused employment in the SEZ, which favors workers brought in from China, Bounphone Heuangmany—a representative for Bokeo in Laos’s National Assembly—said on Oct. 26.

    “I have said many times that the special economic zone has taken villagers’ farmland so that they have no means of livelihood left to them, and I have provided lists of names of local villagers who would like to work in the zone,” she said.

    “But they are not recruited, because the SEZ gives priority in hiring to Chinese workers.”

    Only about 300 Lao workers are now employed in the zone, while workers brought in from China and neighboring Myanmar number at least 6,000, Chanthavy Phothisane said.

    “Some say that local villagers are not good workers, but they are,” he said.

    “It’s just that foreign workers are not choosy about the work they do, especially in the casino construction sites.”

    Source: Radio Free Asia 8 November 2017
     
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