Fort Carnot Huay Xai


Administrator (Retired)
Jul 1, 2012
Chiang Rai
Honda CRM-AR 250, Honda CRF 250-L, Suzuki V Strom XT 650 Honda XR250 Baja BMW F650GS
Huay Xai in Laos doesn't have very much to offer in terms of tourist features, most people are hastily passing through back to Thailand or into Laos.

Fort Carnot is a remnant of the old French Colonial days since their passing in 1954, like most reminders of those days little has been done to preserve this site, although various grants have been put in place but the funds did little to improve the site.
Little information can be found on the internet, a brief mention in wiki Houay Xai – Travel guide at Wikivoyage
With the exception of Luang Prabang very few of these old French structures remain intact and this being one of the only military posts left and another in Muang Sing.

Location N20.27182° E100.41530°

The main entrance gate is now permanently locked, although access can be made through the opening to the right of the picture.

Picture taken around 1970 when the fort was occupied by the Lao Armed Forces.

Aerial views of the same period showing an airstrip, may be used by Air America as a STOL strip.

With a commanding view of the town it is located at N20.27182° E100.41530° pin pointed by a large Lao telecom tower.

The only sign i have seen of any improvement is this totally out of place aluminium door-set which was supposed to be a ticket office.

The main soldiers barracks the most preserved building but securely locked up, i don't know of anyone who has seen the interior.

The roof of the officers area now completely gone.

The main tower although in disrepair can easily be climbed via the metal stair put in place several years ago.

View back down to the entrance gate and the telecom tower.

Fort Carnot has some commanding views over town, giving soldiers clear views to protect the Mekong river from hostile intentions.

Obviously well manicured gardens at one time now being left to overgrow.

Pill boxes on all four corners would have made it very difficult for assault by enemy troops.

Each pill box giving 180 degree views and soldiers well protected by it's three feet thick walls.

Soffit and terracotta floor of the main barracks.

Pill box and tunnel to the old hospital, long gone and the tunnel now sealed.

Tunnel entrance.

presumably the old mess area.

Water trough which i presume was for horses from back in the day.

The main watch tower has been fitted with a new roof in recent years.

The tiled roof of the barracks badly in need of repairs or it will also collapse and be lost.

Main watchtower and rifle slits giving 360 degree protection.

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"Aerial views of the same period showing an airstrip, may be used by Air America as a STOL strip."

That's LS-283, we (USAID) used it for a few months late 1969, early 1970, while L-25, the main Houie Sai runway was being resurfaced.

Details from the AirAm Lima Site Book:

LS283 Ba Houei Sai (Citadel) PC 5141

NF 47-15, J-10B 20-15N, 100-25E

Elev 1038 646x60 clay 03/21

Helio, Porter


In addition to Air America, it was also used by CASI Porters.

Thanks Mac for the updates, always welcome.
Finally made it to the fort on my last visit. Found it quite interesting. Plus you have the place to yourself.

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