The North of Laos

Boontai and Samphan Districts

by Thomas Hyland, Celtic (April 05)

Global Mark : 16.33

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


4 5 3 5 5 2 4 1 4 14.66

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
2 100% 100% 100% 13 to 18 18

Description :
Boontai District Town is 120 kms from Oudomxai Province Town along the only road to Phong Saly Province Town, it's the midway point.

What to do ?  Relax, read, see completely natural environment, mountains, pristine streams, village fishermen on bamboo push boats, fresh food from rivers and forest, See the old French Fort in some disrepair but still interesting, the old salt mines from 200 years ago, interesting 2 temples of the Tai Leu and Phu Noi ethnic groups. Local ethnic people in costume going about their business in the small market, their pack horses grazing about in town.

What you may not like ?  Food is basic but fresh, accommodation simple but ok, great views along river guest house. Town dead after 20:00,
no real tourist infrastructure as of yet (I think that's a positive)

Where to stay ?    Nam Lang Riverside Guesthouse and 2 others less standard.

Where to eat ? All local organic food, limited but fresh from the field veggies and meats such as wild boar, deer, mountain goat, turkey sometimes. No raised animals. Fresh, but limited  to what is available that day - need to be flexible.

What to see/visit : Womens Union Handicraft Shop in main market with designs unique to northern Laos not available in the big towns,proceeds help local women weavers. Mountain hikes to two national forests and biodiversity convervation areas but you have to ask for the English teacher as a guide at the Guesthouse and check in with District Office just to let them know you are here. Take simple bus up to Sapanxai area, 45 kms, a simple guest house there with local health clinic and mobile phone signals. Further 38 kms along good road to Nam Ou River where you can flag down a local boat and go back down to Muang Kkua, Old Muang Ngoi and Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang. Moutain hikes available up to tribal villages but have a guide with you.

Communication : Telephone yes, no email.

Transportation information : All transport to Phongsali passes through

Itinerary advises : Great place to linger on way/back from Phongsali



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