Published on 31st January 2019

the golden city of boten

  • Laos signed a 30-year lease on 1640 hectare of land at Boten to a Chinese developer who built a city centered on an integrated casino-hotel. Boten will be the last stop along the proposed Laos highspeed railway before it enters into Mengla, China.

  • Before the Laos proposed railway connects with China, it will pass through the abandoned ‘Golden City’ of Boten at the Northern Laos border, which once housed a casino and hotel development by investors from China.

  • A Laotian worker at a restaurant in border town of Boten waits for customers. Business is quiet at the now abandoned town, yet optimism runs through the town now that the China-Laos railway has begun its construction.

  • Only a handful of Chinese remained in Boten after the casinos closed down. Laundry can be seen at the commercial street next to a dilapidated wall.

  • Laotian workers at a resturaunt in border town of Boten wait for customers. Business is quiet at the abandoned town, yet optimism runs through the town now that the China-Laos railway has begun its construction.

  • Games booths lie abandoned outside a nightclub called Global Village in Boten. Before it closed down, the casino town of Boten attracted tourists from China and Thailand, where gambling is prohibited.

  • The ‘Global Village’ nightclub, an entertainment complex, lies abandoned after residents vacate the Golden City.

  • Qixing Wei moved from his hometown in Fujian, China to start a hotel in Boten. Once a brisk business, his hotel is now vacant except for him and 2 of his employees.

  • Empty seafood tanks and furniture in a restauant at Boten city gather dust after a long period of disuse.

  • Laotian workers at a restaurant in border town of Boten wait for customers. Business is quiet at the now abandoned town, yet optimism runs through the town now that the China-Laos railway has begun its construction.

  • A swimming pool was built as part of a sports complex intended for residential use in the abandoned city of Boten built by Chinese developer.

  • A supermarket in Boten stocked with goods from China. Almost all businesses in the city are run by merchants from China.

  • Miss Liang, 22 year old Laotian from Luang Prabang, is one of the 12 room attendants remaining in the Golden City Casino Hotel. She came because she could not find work in her hometown. At its peak, the hotel had 100 room attendants, mostly from China.

  • Jia Jia, a 25 years old Laotian from Luang Namtha Province, lives in one of the workers' quarters in Golden City with her Chinese boyfriend, who works in a nearby construction site.

  • A handful of Chinese residents who remained in Boten hang out at night in a massage parlour that doubles up as an internet gaming shop at night.

  • Two 22 year old massage parlour girls from Chongqing wait around for customers. They are thinking to go back to their hometown, as there is no work in Boten.

  • Lim Shiye, 52 year-old from Fujian Province, lives in Boten to manage a hotel he invested in. His wife and grandson visit him once a year and spend a few months during each visit.

  • Plans for the city included a multi-storey jewellery mall and a golf course. The mall building stood empty and incomplete for a few years when Boten was abandoned by its Chinese developers.

the golden city of boten

Social Issues, Contemporary Issues, Documentary

Tagged with:
  • southeast asia
  • laos
  • china
  • casino town
  • development
  • land issues
  • natural resources
  • documentary
  • abandoned town