The North of Laos


by Chayut Pihakaendr, Thailand (Jan 04)

Global Mark : na

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


4 4 2 3 4 1 3 2 3 11.55

Ratings by backpackers : There is no tourist in the area

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.


Description : Vieng Phoukha is the town between Nam Tha and ( Huay Xai )Borkeaw. So if you are entering or exiting Laos you will pass this town for sure . The thing I like about this town is the undiscover town with untouristy anf so many activity to do – Cave , Trekking trip, Hilltribe and sightseeing . There are a few historical sites in town . I think this town should be your first or last stop in Laos.

What to do ?
Relaxing with nice scenery near the school / Go to Nam Eng cave / do some trekking to unspoil hilltribe village / Go to Nam Mai cave ( Open 2004) / Go to a temple on top of the hill to see the whole town / Go to the jungle discover the old temple ruins / War sites by American / Trekking in the preserve area / Play soccer with the Laos student / Feeling the unspoil atmosphere before come to inflate price other place in the country.

What you may not like ? The dusty road / The bus is doesn’t leave everyday / No tourist accommdation ( E-mail , Internet ,Pancake , Bread ) , The electricity limited between 18.00- 21.00 only / a few english- speaker / Extremely bad road from Nam Tha

Where to stay ? There are 3 GH in town .

Where to eat ?  There are many restaurant near the bus station and in the morning is some noodle stall there and also you can eat at your Guest House.

What to see/visit ?
Cave- Nam Eng is a biggest cave in the north of Laos I haven’t seen . It located on the preserve area . This cave has just opened to tourist on Dec , 2003 during my visited there . So it is very beautiful with uncrowded peole in the cave . The path is quite good but the road is pretty bad . Unfortunately they allow tourist visit inside only 3-6 Hrs and then walk back because it ‘s too dangerous because its depth and deep water inside. To get there you have to go by V. Phoukha Tourist Information Office ( TIO ). It costs 1 person = 20 Usd, 2 Persons= 12 Usd, 3-6 Persons = 10 Usd Included - Local guide , English – speaking guide , Lunch in the hilltribe village , Water , Trekking Permit , Tuk-Tuk .You need to bring a flashlight and do not take unlicence guide because they has no key to open the gate.

1 day Nature Trekking --- Starting at TIO and the walk like acircle to uphill and having lunch there . A rest of afternoon walk back to the town . The price is 1 Person = 12 Usd 2-6 Persons = 8 Usd Included - Local guide , English – speaking guide , Lunch in the hilltribe village , Water , Trekking

2 days Trekking – Nam Noi start at TIO walk at the whole day and stop at the first village and spend a day there . The price is 1 Person = 36 Usd, 2 persons = 22 Usd, 3-6 Persons = 20 Usd Included – English- speaking guide. 4 meals at the village , one night stay at village, trekking Permit.

This following trip will be open in 2004 :
Cave – Nam- Mai is a cave close to cave Nam Eng and a little bit smaller but it is quite nice inside so give it a try . This is a full day trip
According to Vieng Phoukha Tourist Office (TIO ) Thanks toMr. Souksahn Phakasy , Mr. Paul and myself.
Do some trekking to unspoil hilltribe village.
War sites by American.
Trekking in the preserve area.
Go to the jungle discover the old temple ruins.

Change ? There is one Laos Development Bank near the market with very bad rate . I recommended you should exchange money in Nam Tha.
Communication (internet, tel, etc) : There is no internet but you can make a call at your Gh.

Other practical addresses ? Mr. Souksanh Phakasy ( Statistic Planning Marketing and Cooperation ), Luang Nam Tha Tourism Office, P.O. Box 07
Luang Nam Tha Province Laos PDR
Tel (086 ) 211-534 , e-mail :
Tell me recommended by Mr. Chayut Pihakaendr ( Yut ) he knew me.

Transportation information ?

To : Huay Xai ( Laos – Thai border )
Price :43000 Kip
Type : Truck
Duration trip :6-7 hrs
Schedules :11.00 – 13.00 daily
Number :2-3 bus a daily
Frequency : unpredictable
This journey is for everyone who wish to exit Laos to Thailand . The road start with pretty bad to quite good .

To : Luang Nam Tha
Price :22000 Kip
Type : Truck
Duration trip :6-7 hrs
Schedules :11.00 – 13.00 daily
Number :2-3 bus a daily
Frequency : When it packed
The road is extremely bad I had a stomachache when I got off the truck and book the front seat otherwise you will cover with a ton of dust . The scenery is good thebus always leaves daily at 8.00 at V. Phoukha bus station . It took 6-7 km despites only is not too far estimated 65 Km aways

Itinerary advises : The Thai- Laos immigration always open daily from 6.00 –18.00 as well as the ferry is costs only 20 B but you should arrive at the border pier around 15.00 to catch the last bus from Ching Khong – Bkk ( 400 B ) . if you miss this bus which is the last nus to Bkk . You have to take the local bus from Ching Khong – Ching Rai (57 B) it leaves at 17.00 and arrive Ching Rai bus station around 20.00- 21.00 if you are lucky you will able to catch the last bus from Ching Rai to Bkk . It leaves at 20.00 daily.
Therefore you should leave V . Phoukha early ( The bus come from Nam Tha but it passes here around 11.00-13.00 daily . The first one is here around 11.00 .

Your trip to the next destination : Huay Xai / Luang Nam Tha



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