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The provincial capital of Houaphanh Province, Sam Neua is rarely visited by western tourists, making it one of the friendliest places in Laos. Everything is small scale and locally owned and wandering just a few metres off the main strip will bring you to lots of smaller villages. A great stop-off on the way to Vietnam, Sam Neua has a frontier-style charm.
Most people visit the town as a stopover point before heading onwards to Vieng Xai and Vietnam, thereby only staying a night or two. However, if you have the time, it's well worth visiting the local tourist office (who are super friendly) where you can arrange trips to various ethnic villages - some of the most remote in Laos.
Same as those celebrated nationwide as well as the Hmong Lai festival in mid-December. During this festival local ethnic groups take part in courtship games.
There are 2 local buses a day from Sam Neua to Phonsavan. The journey is long and winding, but just stunning!
There is no need to travel by car/tuk-tuk here as the town is so small.
Easily navigated by foot as the city is so small. There is one main strip with a few smaller roads branching off. Generally speaking, everything a tourist needs is on the main, central road or along that between the centre of town and the bus station up on the hill.
There are not a great deal of options when it comes to food. There is a decent restaurant near Kheamxam Guest House, otherwise you're looking at trying your luck (and your patience) at one of the local places.
The market is worth a look for cheap samosas, spring rolls and other Laotian and Vietnamese food.
Again there are very few places to drink in this small town. Buy a beer lao and drink it on your hotel verandah, or on the front step with the locals.
Pretty much all accommodation in this town is budget. Though a new mid-range hotel is in the process of being built. Decent options include:
Hard to find as there is only one internet cafe in the town which always seems to be closed when you need it most.
See also International Telephone Calls
The post office opposite the bus station has a telephone office at its rear which offers international calls.
Post office opposite the bus station. Opening times are 8:00am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday.
as well as grunge (3%)
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