The North of Laos

UDOMXAI (MUANG XAI)

Global Mark : na


This place is another transit town except that it lack the charm of Luang Nam Tha. Quite a few travelers (Chinese & foreigners) stop here so it can be difficult to find a room if you arrive late. 

Where to stay ?

Turn left direction South-East at the bus stop to find the guesthouses street. As there are quite a few Chinese in town, some guesthouses could be resonant with karaoke well past Laos' bedtime...

Except for good looking Linda GH (B150 or 200 w. cold or hot shower) , most places cost around B50-75 for one or B75-100 for two people in a room without shower. The one that were not full when I arrived were quite dirty and real basic...

One notable exception however : Kongchai GH, off the main street, turn left after all the guesthouses & the gas station (sign Konchadenneua GH), 5mn from bus station. Nice clean rooms B60, HW outside, water dispenser,... Excellent value !

Backpacker's Tips : Stefan Westerheide, Germany (Jan 05)
Pickup to Muang Khua (3h, 2$, good gravel road, extremely scenic in the afternoon, lots of stops in small villages)
Muang Khua: Sennali Hotel(dbl,hw,br,fan,clean,friendly) 10 $ average value better deal to stay in Nam Ou GH excellent food sb 4 $, but we needed something more comfortable that day. Boat to Muang Ngoi (4h, 6 $)

Backpacker's Tips : Peter Christiaen, Belgium (March 02)
 Linda 2 Guesthouse : 30.000 kip. Hot water, collective bathroom / For me one of the most boring places in Laos
Pick-up truck to Phongsali (38.000 kip) : first part of the road is OK, but then it's really bad. More than 11 hours (we had many stops because of technical problems), very hard. The road is bad, but the scenery is extremely beautiful: very nice villages, one stop with a lot of Akha people; mountain pass. Passed through one beautiful village with some guesthouses, probably worth checking out (Ban Neua).

Backpacker's Tips : Tam Chiwai, Hong Kong (Sept 00)
 A small town where you can get a bus to China. Not much to do in town. The best place to stay is Si Van Kran GH. Behind the GH is a small hill, a good place for sunrise and sunset.


Bus Schedules : 

To Price Road Duration Time Nb Freq.
Luang Nam Tha B75 bad 5 8,14 2 na
Boten B65 bad 4 8,11 2 na
Phongsali B170 bad 8-12 8 1 na
Muang Khua B65 bad 5 8,14 2 na
Nong Khiaw B75 ok 5 8,14 2 na
Pak Mong B50 good 3 8,10,13 3 na
Luang Prabang B85 good 5 8,11,14 3 na
Pakbeng B100 bad 8 to 10 8 1 na

Notes : To Nong Khiaw if people otherwise go to Pak Mong / From Pak Mong, connection to Nong Khiaw (B30, 1.5 hrs) / To Luang Prabang via Pak Mong / To Pakbeng via Muang Houn (B65, 4 hrs)


The trip to Nong Khiaw :
SSS / L&R / 2.5 hrs + 1.5 hrs / Tuk-Tuk
Once again, I nearly spent more time at the bus station than on the road... I showed up at 7:30 and was pointed toward a nice minibus going to Pak Mong (no direct bus to Nong Khiaw). But not enough passengers showed up so the minibus was hired by my Chinese friends for their trip to Luang Prabang. My bag was transferred to the top of a tuk-tuk. After an hour wait and still not enough people to go, the tuk-tuk driver indicated me a truck which would in theory leave soon. I moved my bag again to realize that the bus was bound to Luang Prabang (another one had left an hour before) and was full. So back at the tuk-tuk which, after another 30mn wait, finally left (before the truck by the way). 
The road was quite smooth and the scenery quite nice even so not too visible thanks to the tuk-tuk design and the vegetation. We stopped couple of times for the passengers to buy bamboo shoots and arrived in Pak Mong within 2.5 hrs. 
The tuk-tuk bound to Nong Khiaw filled up real fast... Another hour-plus on a basic road : holes but nice scenery with plenty of villages and waving kids...

Check also info about Phongsali

See also the trip from Luang Nam Tha