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Houaphanh Province

Travel Guide Asia Laos Houaphanh Province

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Introduction

Hmong....the colourful highland beauties

Hmong....the colourful highland beauties

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One of the least visited provinces in Laos, Houaphanh Province has an untouched beauty and is home to 22 different ethnic groups. There is also a strong Vietnamese influence, particularly in towns close to the border such as Vieng Xai.

This is a true "off the beaten-track" destination and adventurous travellers will certainly be rewarded for their exploration.

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Geography

The province is characterised by its mountain peaks and misty passes. The beauty of the landscape here turns an rickety bus journey into one of sheer awe.

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Cities

  • Sam Neua - the provincial centre
  • Vieng Xai - Best known for the Pathet Lao leader's caves

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Sights and Activities

The caves at Vieng Xai are a must-see on any visit to this province. From Sam Neua it's possible to arrange treks to visit the local villages. Here you can see many of the different ethnic groups that live in this province (including Yao Hmong, Khamu, Thai Khao and Thai Neua).

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Events and Festivals

Same as those celebrated nationwide as well as the Hmong Lai festival in Sam Neua in mid-December. During this festival local ethnic groups take part in courtship games.

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Weather

The climate here is cooler than the rest of the country due to the province's high altitude, so it's a great place to visit during the height of the hot season.

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Getting There

By Plane

Lao Airlines flies 3 times a week from Vientiane to Sam Neua (though the times are unstable and often subject to cancellations).

By Bus

There are 2 local buses a day from Sam Neua to Phonsovan. The journey is long and winding, but just stunning!

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Eat

Sam Neau definitely has the largest selection of restaurants in province, though this still isn't many! Most cater towards locals, but if you're willing to try your luck and use a bit of guess work, you might just be rewarded.

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Drink

You best bet for ensuring a drink is to buy some Beer Lao from one of the local shops and sit out on the verandah - often with the locals.

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Sleep

Sam Neua and Vieng Xai both have a fairly modest selection of Guest Houses.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 18:14 on Aug 20, 10 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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