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New Challenge Discovery
Located on a hill overlooking Houay Xai, the Mekong and Chiang Khong, Thailand, Fort Carnot stood as colonial France's western-most Indochinese stronghold. Built in 1900, only a couple of French officers oversaw the garrison manned by some 30 Lao and Vietnamese soldiers. When the country achieved independence in 1954, the Lao army used the fort as barracks.
Though currently undergoing restoration, Fort Carnot stands among the best-preserved colonial military outpost in Laos. Barracks on the ground's western and eastern sides remain intact, as do the southern and northern watchtowers and two of the corner bastions. Tunnels from the southwestern and southeastern corners once provided safe passage for soldiers to bunkers outside the fort. The southern wall and tower, which suffer from age and neglect, present slits for riflemen aiming at approaching attackers, and the rooms flanking the southern entrance tower most likely held the kitchen and jail. Much of the western wall has collapsed, as has the bastion at the northwestern corner. In the western barracks, which are being developed into a history and ethnographic museum, you can see rifle racks on the walls.
Location: Houei Xai tuk-tuks are available for the short ride to Fort Carnot. For walkers, cyclers, and motorbike riders, head south on the main road, turn left onto the road across from the post office, and then turn right to the hilltop and aim for the telephone towers