Australia celebrates two decades of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge
31 March 2014
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Australian-built and funded 'Friendship Bridge' linking Thailand and Lao PDR.
The first Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River is an enduring symbol of Australia’s commitment to its neighbourhood, and of the ties that bind the peoples of Thailand, Lao PDR and Australia. Remarking on this anniversary, H.E. Mr James Wise, Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, said “building this first Friendship Bridge is an achievement Australians can look on with great pride. The bridge has drawn our three countries closer together, forging new friendships and networks across the Mekong, and beyond. The Friendship Bridge has helped promote greater trade, tourism and cultural exchange between Thailand, Lao PDR and other countries in our region.”
In celebration of this occasion, Nong Khai Province of Thailand and the City of Vientiane, Lao PDR, will host a series of special events from 4 to 8 April.
The Australian Embassies in Bangkok and Vientiane are proud to join in presenting the following free events:
- 10 am to 9 pm, from Friday 4 April to Tuesday 8 April, a trade fair featuring booths with Australian products, in front of the Old Nong Khai Provincial Hall Sports Stadium.
- At 8 am on Saturday 5 April, the opening of a photo exhibition, “The Nong Khai-Vientiane Relationship on the Mekong River” will be held at Thai-Lao Botanical Garden, featuring 100 photos by photographers from Thailand and Lao PDR. The exhibition will be on display from 10am to 5pm until 8 April.
- At 10.40 am on Saturday 5 April, the opening of a Thai-Lao Botanical Garden, commemorating sixty years of Thai-Lao diplomatic relations, at Nong Kom Ko Sub-District, Muang District, Nong Khai.
- In the evening on Saturday 5 April, musical performances at Wat Meechai Ta, Muang District, Nong Khai. As part of the performances, Australian saxophonist Matt Keegan (http://mattkeeganmusichub.com) will join Thai guest artists Mr Pajone Peebung on drums and Mr Prasobchok Duangmalai on bass, to perform a piece Matt Keegan composed especially for the celebration. "The Bridge to Friends Suite” will feature six parts, taking the audience from “Bridge to Friends”, “The Mekong”, “The Meeting”, “The Construction”, “The Bridge at Night” to “The Celebrations”.
Prior to his performance in Nong Khai, Matt Keegan will deliver a saxophone workshop at the Khonkaen University Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Department of Western Music from 10am to midday, on Friday 4 April. Pre-registration required. Please contact 043 20-2396.
- On Sunday 6 April, the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge 20th Anniversary Cycling race* kicks off at 8.40 am. The route starts on the Nongkhai side of the Friendship Bridge, crosses the Friendship Bridge, and finishes at Pha That Luang in Vientiane. A second starting point will depart from Pha That Luang and finish on the Lao PDR side of the Friendship Bridge. Bring your own bike. A THB200 registration fee includes a T-shirt, lunch voucher and certification. Registered cyclists must wear the event T-shirt to be escorted through the border.
- From 10am to 8.30pm on Sunday 6 April, the 20th Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Anniversary Golf Challenge will be held at the Victory Park Golf and Country Club, Nong Khai.
*Limited spaces are available for the cycling race and golf challenge, on a first come, first served basis. To register, please contact Charintip.firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 02-344 6464. For further information please contact the Nong Khai Tourism And Sport Office telephone: 042-420 745