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Ho Prabang, pagoda of the royal palace, Luang Prabang, Laos
A buried pre-Angkorian city, a monumental complex on a mountainside, a road leading to Angkor and a network of temples, a treasure of gold and silver never shown to the public, some of the oldest Buddhist remains ... The cultural heritage of South Laos deserves to be better known, protected and promoted.

After 20 years of cooperation for the preservation of Luang Prabang, AFD and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism are pursuing their joint action in Champasak and Savannakhet.

The Vat Phu - Champasak cultural landscape, classified as a World Heritage site since 2001, includes the centuries-old Vat Phu sanctuary overlooking the Mekong River, a buried capital from the beginning of Khmer history, and the peaceful village of Champasak, the more recent capital of the Lao kingdom of the same name.

Savannakhet province has preserved important remains from several eras, from remote prehistory through the protohistoric, pre-Angkorian, Mone, Angkorian, Lao Lan Xang and colonial periods to the contemporary age. A treasure of exceptional value, dated to the end of the 1st millennium, was discovered there in 2008 but could never be exhibited to the public.


In Champasak, the project aims to improve knowledge of the cultural heritage, through a high-precision LIDAR topographical survey and the continuation of archaeological research; it includes the enhancement of several heritage sites and buildings, and the creation of tourist products (tours, crafts) to create a real destination for national, regional and international tourists who will thus be tempted to extend a currently very short stay. This will be accompanied by economic opportunities for the local population, who will also benefit from refurbished public spaces and will be able to get involved in the implementation of the project through a call for ideas.

In Savannakhet, the project aims to define a long-term master plan for the improvement of territorial attractiveness and tourism development. The first stages of its implementation will be financed: the enhancement of the treasure and the renovation of the provincial museum.

The project will be implemented partly by the Lao Government (Vat Phu - Champasak World Heritage Office and the Information, Culture and Tourism Service of Savannakhet) and partly by the École française d'Extrême-Orient.


The project aims both to discover and preserve an exceptional and little-known cultural heritage and to develop sustainable tourism, a sector which contributes to 15% of GDP and 11% of jobs in Laos.

Project start date
Project end date
5 ans
Duration of funding
District de Champasak (Province de Champasak), Ville de Kaysone Phomvihane (Province de Savannakhet)
Financing tool
6 000 000
Financing amount
Vat Phu - Champasak World Heritage Office
Savannakhet Provincial Office of Culture, Information and Tourism
Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient