If you are interested in treks and tours, stop by the Provincial Tourism Information Centre (Mon–Fri, 08:30–16:30) on the main street directly across from the market.
They can help you book tours and licensed local guides.
Plenty of photos and information are displayed, as well as a helpful bulletin board with bus and boat schedules, suggested things to do and ads for activities and restaurants. You can also pick up a free photocopied map in English with the whole town in detail.
Dusty pamphlets outline the treats to be found in each district: wats, waterfalls, caves, ethnic groups, shopping and other attractive sites worth visiting. The staff speak pretty good English and once you start talking to them about options in the area they will explain in more detail the images, brochures and treks that can be done in the region. They can also point you to the privately run tour companies in town.
Prices do vary and the price per person gets cheaper with more participants, but since few travellers actually stop in Udomxai to explore, it’s highly unlikely that you will find others to join. Go in with the expectation that you’ll be organising this for yourself.
At present treks of up to three days are available. Sample itineraries include two nights in Khmu villages learning about their traditions, lifestyle and handicrafts while stopping at several natural attractions on the way. Nature enthusiasts can trek to Chom Ong Cave or Nam Kat Waterfall.
FACET (Forestry Area Conservation Ecological Tourism) operates trips in the Nam Kat Yola Pa protected area along the Nam Kat river. They offer multi-day rainforest treks and adventure activities including abseiling, canyoning, traversing canopy bridges and zip-lining.
FACET: Road 5, Dornkeo Village, Udomxai. T: (081) 212 159; (20) 555 766 69 http://namkatyolapa.com
Oudomxay Provincial Tourism Department T: (081) 212 483 http://www.oudomxay.info
By Cindy Fan.