The Southern Gate
Mountains, waterfalls, temples and legend hold the secrets of Sayabouli’Kenthao’s past. Kenthao borders Thailand, and an international border checkpoint at the Nam Heuang Thai Friendship Bridge opens access to Thais arriving from Loei Province.
Pouh Lan and Ya Ngork Mountains
According to lore, a Burmese couple – Pouh Lan and Ya Ngork – first settled Kenthao centuries ago, and became the ruling family. They had a daughter, who married a prince, and they had two children: a girl, Phengsi, and a boy, Thodam. When his grandchildren matured, King Pouh Lan handed his crown to Thodam, but he died young. A saddened Pouh Lan passed away soon after over worries about his successor. After the former first couple’s death, a funeral procession took their bodies to Kenthao’s northeast, which were named Pouh Lan and Ya Ngork after Kenthao’s founders.
Phengsi honored her grandparents by building Vat Siphoume, the district’s most sacred site, on the Nam Heuang Riverbanks, and a visit to Kenthao’s 15th century temple reveals stupas for Phengsi and Thodam.
Known for her strong and distinct character, Phengsi was more interested in weapons than weaving. With no male successor to the throne, Phengsi was crowned, and word of the new ruler quickly spread. According to custom, any man fighting and defeating Phengsi would become king, but no one succeeded. Phengsi never wed, as her love for her father’s cousin was considered taboo, and she died childless.
Location: Vat Siphoume is located in the center Kenthao Town.