The old French Fort in Houei Xai.

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by Moto-Rex, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. The old French Fort in Houei Xai.

    I came across this interesting French Fort while riding around Houei Xai.

    It is currently under restoration, and it maybe some time before its restored to its former glory, seeing that there’s only one young guy doing all the work.

    GPS N20 16.297 E100 24.913

    Project Period 6 months…... I don’t think so.

    One of the two main towers.

    Looking into the Font from the tower.

    And looking across Houei Xai to Thailand from the same tower.

    This is where the” French imperialist aggressors” would keep an eye on the local Lao population.






    The jail where French imperialist aggressors that had drank too much wine, and Locals that had been misbehaving would end up.

    The prisoners were long gone.

    The main entrance to the Font, with the getaway vehicle waiting.

    I hope these aluminium windows are not a sign of things to come.

    Good place to wonder about if your got an hour or so to kill in Houei Xai.

  2. That could be quite an attraction if they do restore it correctly.
  3. Wow I love this kind of places! Thanks, my Laos-buck-list is growing by the day!

    Chang Noi
  4. Thanks Rex for sharing. Very nice vew from up there.
    It was named after a famous general during the French Revolutition,1789-1795.
    During the colonial period,Houey Sai, on French maps was named :Fort Carnot.
    On my 1st trip to Houey Sai in 74,the Royal Lao Army was still living in the barracks up there.
    When I returned in 96,it was almost a ruin .Glad to hear it will be restored,but as you say it will take time.
    The only thing which rose fast in this province was the ugly casino near Ban Mom!
    Cheers, lung.
  5. Outstanding find Rex, look forward to dropping by when I next pass through.
    Sorry to see that a/c needs determine out of place double glazing.

    Fascinating insight - do you have any photos from those times?

    Thanks to you both.
  6. Hello Rhodie,sorry,
    I've nothing from the inside.Only 3 slides taken from the remparts,overlooking the Mekong and Chieng Khong which was so small then.
    By that time I was mainly shootig with a super 8m/m camera.
    I've(always postponed) the project to put every thing on DVD.
    And during the long winter evenings here,I am happily biking in Northern Thailand or Laos!
    Cheers, Lung.
  7. #7 DavidFL, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
    What is supposed to be going on:


    [td]Part 3 A[/td]
    [td]Historic French Fort[/td]
    [td]Houay Xay Town[/td]
    [td]Parking, information & ticket booth, site security, history exhibition, signage[/td]
    [td]1.Site management[/td]



    Source: Sustainable Tourism Development Project in Lao PDR
  8. Hanging out in Houei Xai 10-11-12 December 2013 for the 4th Mekong Friendship Bridge to open I went up the hill to check up on old Fort Carnot in Bo Keo.

    16 months after Moto-Rex's informative post here's how it looked........










    & the big difference is the new museum / information room - centre

    but sadly it was all locked up the day I visited.

    The western fort tower



    Stunning views over Houei Xai & the Mekong from the western fort tower



    the Thai - CK side view



    A view of the western fort tower from afar at Wat Chom Kao Manilat


    Some info:
    Built in 1900 on a hill overlooking Houei Xay and Thailand, Fort Carnot served as colonial France’s western-most strategic stronghold for controlling Mekong River traffic.
    Though undergoing restoration, Fort Carnot today stands among Laos’ best-preserved colonial military outposts.
    The eastern rampart’s barracks and main gate remain intact, as do its corner bastions, with tunnels leading soldiers to outside watchtowers. Riflemen once pointed guns towards the Mekong through slits along the southern barricade.
    The tall western tower and wall show their age, but you can still see rifle racks on the rooms’ walls. The north block, being developed into a museum, most likely held the kitchen and jail.
    Source: LNTA Laos.

    Check it out in Houei Xai, it is worth it for the views.
  9. Ooops missed this pic

    Holding the fort..

  10. Thank you Rex for your interesting and well illustrated post. It is still of great value.

    I have visited Fort Carnot several times, in the last years, but was lucky to find it open only once. The UNESCO money to renovate it did not help a lot for its rehabilitation and the tourist office told me that they have nobody to man the place. I also doubt that there would be many visitors interested in its history, as people are mostly climbing the hill for the view.

    I did some research about this fortress but found near to nothing in literature or official documents. It is true that the place was never important for the French and just erected in 1900 to watch the Mekong traffic from British Burma and Siam. Once Muang Sing came under French control it was a more strategic place to command the regional traffic.
  11. August 2015

    A brief update - the roof on the western fort tower has been repaired completely, but sadly no photos. The local HX rumour is that the money has miraculously run out already for the balance of the restoration, but that Kings Roman (the casino operators at the GT on the Lao side) will come to the rescue to complete the project  in return for a lease & a zipline / cable car ? that will run down to the island in the Mekong at the downstream end of Houei Xai city. The wonder of Laos - how to get things done.     Put Fort Carnot on your Houei Xai hit list of places to go  before it comes a "disney land."

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