→ sightseeing of the town
Just before the millenium (1996/1998)
Please note: Modern maps are orientated approximately to the North.
Therefore they all are turned about 180° in comparison to the
old map of 1890. That pertains to all now following maps.
In consequence our new town map from 1998 has been turned at
180° in comparison to the old map of 1890.
The official map of 1982, scale 1:100000 shows the shape of the old town not
clearly enough. But on a satellite image of 1988 the squares and the walls
can be seen excellently.
The following map is a detail of the map F-47-107 (B.MUANGSING).
The grid covers of 2 km.
The map does not show the square shape of the old town clearly enough.
The square old town Müang Sing can be seen quite clearly in the centre
of the picture.
The satellite image was made especially for the demands of forestry
(Swedforest Scandia Consult). The green vegetation is a dark contrast
to the light colours of dry ricefields. There are trees and bushes
on the wall, especially in the north, so that the wall is accentuated.
The French fort replaced the southern corner of the wall. -
The old streets are visible.
During our survey in Müang Sing we closely inspected the remains
of the town wall and the town moat as well as the area inside. In short the
following observations seem worth mentioning [1996/1998 !!]:
The length of the wall, given in the old plan, proved wrong. In fact,
one feels impressed by the vastness of the town. The length of each side
was measured at roughly 800 m. Thereby the whole area inside the town wall
would be 60 - 70 ha. The wall is still visible, apart from
its southern corner where it is completely levelled in a length of
300 - 400 m in both directions. All gates can be recognized
as broad passages. Moreover, one can still see a moat of 4 m breadth
surrounding the town. Parts of it are silted up. Near the eastern corner
the moat is formed by the Sing river.
The present height of the wall is between 1.2 and 1.6 m.
Although raining water might have levelled the wall to a certain extent,
it seems hard to believe that the original height of the wall was
about 3 m.
Apart from some spots where two squares are amalgamated into one
(rectangular) area, the delineation and the breadth of the streets are
more or less the same as can be seen from the 1890 map. On both sides
of the streets are small ditches.
The → ruler’s palace and
the other palace buildings have disappeared. There are ruins of a brick
building in the centre of the town, but it comes probably from the
French colonial period. The area surrounding the former ruler’s palace is
sparsely populated. Most of the area is used as garden land and pasture.
Major buildings in the town are:
the old French fort, now used by the Lao People's Army,
the district administration,
one kindergarten, four primary schools and one secondary school,
one teacher's training college,
one school for women's vocational training,
the ground of the German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).
(GTZ, since 2010 GIZ Society for international
the museum with some historical photos.
The area of highest density of population is in the southeast of the town.
The gravity of population has obviously shifted towards the
"China Road" and the market. That area belongs to the
compartment of Siang Cai where almost half of the total
"urban" population lives. Our own mapping of the population
density in the town, based on close quarter-to-quarter inspection,
confirms the uneven distribution of inhabitants. The area close to
the northern corner, in particular, is unpopulated wasteland.
This may explain the relatively small population of Siang Lae and
Siang In to which this area belongs administratively.
The official map of 1983 shows 216 houses for the whole town,
inside and outside of the wall.
Müang Sing is experiencing an economic upswing. There are
many new buildings along the main road that runs to the Lao-China border.
For several hours a day there is electricity. One can also observe
motorization to a certain extent. The bulk of commodities and consumers
goods comes from China. Simple tourism is booming. In 1993, there was
only one hotel in Müang Sing. Three years later there were
already four, and three others are yet under construction.
... [1996 bzw. 1998] with a click at each red marked point in the