Friday, March 20, 2009

The Royal Port Theater -- Pakse, Laos

Lots of old timers in Laos call movie theaters "hong hoop ngao," roughly translated to "shadow picture houses." I guess that means that movies are known as "shadow pictures." Anyway, I spent a few days in the little city of Pakse, Champasak province, in southern Laos. The locals led me to three old theaters, one of them being the Hong Hoop Ngao Ta Luang, or Royal Port Theater.

I didn't get much info on this one, only that the owner still lives in town - a fact which contrasts to the other theaters I've come across in Laos, whose owners all bolted from the country as soon as the communists took power in 1975. It closed down in the mid-80's

This geezer's all wood. I bet it's one of the oldest theaters in SEA.

As I crept around the perimeter, trying to find a crack to get a peak inside, some kids rode by on bikes. One of them said to me "Yo dude, don't you know that joints haunted?" To which I replied, "I ain't scared of no ghost."

For those of you who think I'm trying to pass an old barn off as an old theater, check out the screen; barely visible through the crack in the door.


  1. I love Savankhet,I grown up in Savannakhet,I completed my education Diplome et Brevet in Savannakhetin 1962.I knew almost anybody from Gove.,Gen,cOL,and many others.I left Seno,my last duty position in 1975 to Killing camp in Sepone.I escaped in the end of 1975 to Thailand.I want to thank this current gov.that me and my family members have a wonderful life in America.I am now retired wth $6000.00 a month for the rest of my life.If I were in Lao I would have had a bare $20.00 a month.Thanks to this current LPDR.

  2. Savannaket looks like it was once a great town with a thriving economy. It's pretty quiet these days, though there are efforts being made to revitalize the downtown area.

    Thank you for your comments. I hope that these photos of theaters in southern Laos spark good memories for you.

  3. When I was in Laos a few years ago, my dad really wanted to see this theater. This was the theater he spent his youth going too.