If speedboats are too much for your heart, the roads too much for your skeletal system and flying too pricey, don't despair: see Laos from the comfort of a slowboat. From Huay Xai, the sense of transition, as the muddy bottom unwillingly releases the boat from its hold, and the prow is snatched by the current's powerful grasp and propelled down river, is only the beginning of a beautiful trip ... Read more about Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slowboat .
With stunning vistas and lush tropical rainforests, the natural beauty of Laos is one of the primary reasons many people visit this mountainous landlocked country. And the best way to get out into nature and really experience its immense beauty is to trek. Many choose the areas surrounding Luang Nam Tha while others opt for destinations further afield such as Phongsali and Muang Khua. Those ... Read more about The Gibbon Experience .
A number of Lao Red Cross sauna and massage centres are spread throughout Laos and we rank this as one of the best of the lot. Whether you need to recover from the bus or want to prep for your journey on an overly packed slow boat, a traditional sauna is a great way to sweat out stress and soothe tense muscles. If this is your first Lao sauna experience, it’s straightforward: pay 15,000 ... Read more about Lao Red Cross herbal sauna and massage .
Sixteen kilometres from town along Route 3 is Ban Nam Chan, the only Lanten ethnic village in Bokeo province. Fair Trade Laos worked with the village in establishing a handicraft group and they have set them up to accept visitors so you are free to walk around and explore. At their modest visitor centre there’s information about Lanten life and customs and if you’re lucky, they will have ... Read more about Ban Nam Chan Lanten village .
This wat sits at the top of a small hill in the centre of Huay Xai and it's quite a climb up the naga-flanked stairs. The view is fair but the Mekong River is obscured by trees. The wat itself is quite attractive. The monks are young and quite cheeky. Chanting begins at 18:00. From here a sign points to Fort Carnot, an old French colonial military barracks 900 metres away. Watch out ... Read more about Wat Chom Khao Manirat .
Fort Carnot was an army fort built by the French around 1900, seven years after Laos was brought into French Indochina. There wasn’t much military action in this area and even at its peak, there were only a few French officers and 30 Lao and Vietnamese soldiers stationed here. After Laos gained independence in 1954, the Royal Lao Army and then the Lao Army took over, using the building as ... Read more about Fort Carnot .
Nam Nyon waterfall is located about half an hour upriver from Huay Xai by speedboat and a similar amount of time in a chartered tuk tuk. Heading to the falls is more about the journey on the river or road and through rural areas of Laos that hardly any other foreigners visit, especially as almost all travellers head down river to Luang Prabang or up the main highway to Luang Nam Tha. By ... Read more about Nam Nyon Waterfall .
The Huay Xai border crossing is one of many crossings into Laos from Thailand and many visitors choose this particular one when entering Laos due to its proximity to Chiang Mai and the rest of northern Thailand. After arriving in Huay Xai, the vast majority of travellers choose to hop on a slowboat down river to Pak Beng for a connection the next day to Luang Prabang. I recently attempted an ... Read more about Huay Xai to Xieng Kok, Laos (the hard way) .