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Phongsaly Laos Travel Guide - Essential things to know

Cập nhật: 01-01-1970 12:00:00 | Blogs about Laos | Lượt xem: 1084

A detailed travel guide about Phongsaly introducing the history, culture, things to do, cuisine, etc. This non-touristy travel destination of Laos is the extreme northern region province. Phongsaly is close to the border with China in the north and Vietnam in the East. Characterizing high mountains with cool weather, Phongsaly treats us with stunning mountain views, an ancient town with wooden house architecture from Yunnan, China. Traverse and explore thrilling trekking routes in Phongsaly, you also can meet up with locals and learn more about hill tribe culture in Laos. 

History of Phongsaly Laos




Back in the 18th century, the Phunoi tribal people left Muang Sing and settled in Phongsaly. Then, the H’mong people from China arrived and migrated into this region. 

During the French rule, there were unsuccessful revolts against the colonials by the Tai Lue from 1908 - 1910; then by Ong Kommandam from 1934 - 1936. Ong Kommandam’s son was prisoned; and thereupon constituted the resistance base. He contacted Viet Minh - the Communist force in northern Vietnam making Communist the power in Phongsaly at the time. On 18 Dec, 1957, Phonsaly was integrated into Laos Government. From then on, Phongsaly has been a province of Laos. 

How to travel to Phongsaly

Get to Phongsaly by air

The Boun Neua Airport is available with direct flight from Vientiane to Phongsaly. The flight might or might not be operated daily. Then you might check available flights and arrange the proper travel date.

Local bus to Phongsaly

There are local buses with different schedules from Luang Prabang, Vientiane to Phongsaly. Or else, you might take the transfer to Oudomxay Province, then carry on with the connecting bus to Phongsaly.

Laos - China speed train from Vientiane, Luang Prabang to Phongsaly

The newly launched speed train Laos - China late 2021 makes it more convenient and economical to travel between provinces in Laos. It takes around 3 hours to travel from Luang Prabang to Oudomxay from where you can catch a transfer to other towns in the region. 

Multiple Ethnics in Phongsaly


Phongsaly is a province of diverse ethnicity. This province’s population is around 178,000 people including 28 ethnic groups. The majority of them are Khmu, Akha, Hor, Tai Lue, Phounoy. As per the history of Phongsaly, these groups came from China, Muang Sing or Burma. The hill tribe communities often live on high mountains and feature their own colorful costume and practical customs. 

Where to stay overnight in Phongsaly Laos?

Traveling to Phongsaly Laos, you may stop by the Phongsaly Town for overnight. There are local hotels providing basic amenities. You might consider Phou Fa Hotel, Phongsaly Hotel, Viphaphone hotel. 

Besides, there are many local guest houses in Phongsaly with more genuine experiences. Being the highest capital city of Laos, at 1,400m (4,593 feet), and located on the Phou Fa Mountain, Phongsaly treats its visitors to a cool climate and stunning view. 

What are the best places to see in Phongsaly?

Trekking trip in Phongsaly



Trekking is probably the nicest experience when traveling to the ethnic diversity province Phongsaly. Phongsaly is a non-touristy travel destination; and highly recommended to include in a Laos adventure trip. Northern Laos offers eco-trekking paths with rewarding views. Passing the nice mountains with epic views, you can meet up with locals and learn more about their cultures. 

Phongsaly. A local tour guide in Phongsaly might be helpful to show you the villages of Akha, Hmong, Tai Yue, Tai Yang. 

Phongsaly museum of ethnicity 

This museum is the place for travelers to admire the colorful costumes of Laos minorities groups living in Phongsaly. The museum also showcases the culture, traditional jobs and so on. There are lively displays on costumes, handicrafts equipment, and cultural customs of ethnic groups in Phongsaly. This museum is a nice place for first-glance understanding before your trekking to villages. 

Hike to Phu Fa Mountain

Phu Fa Mountain, meaning Sky Mountain, is around 1,625m (5,330 feet) above sea level. As being the highest peak in the area, you can cast a panoramic view of the town and other mountains from afar. It takes 45 mins to climb the tree-shared path toward this mount. There is a picnic area on the way with some local shops. Instead of hiking, you can drive up by transportation. 

Ban Komaen 


Ban Komaen is around 15km (9 miles) from the village where residing by Phounoy Ethnic people. This village is renowned for its ancient tea plantations of up to 400 years old. The highest ancient tea tree in Komaen Village is around 6m (20 feet) tall. Locals need to climb up the tree for harvesting. Visiting Ban Komaen, you will learn more about their traditional tea planting job, sip a taste of the ancient tea. The driving path also offers picturesque views of the mountains and Phongsaly. 

Phongsaly town

Phongsaly old town is the capital of Phongsaly Province which is between Yunnan of China and Dien Bien of Vietnam. Travelers can get accommodations in Phongsaly town, visit the Museum of hill tribes, visit local markets and admire the Yunnan style ancient houses. The architecture of old houses in Phongsaly town is rarely found in Yunnan these days due to the modernization. It’s why some say Phongsaly is no longer Laos, and does not belong to China. 

Above all, Phongsaly town treats their guests pretty well with cool climate and epic scenes of mountains from Nam Ou River’s Canyon. 

Phou Den Din NPA

Phou Den Din NPA in Phongsaly Province was designated as the National Biodiversity Conservation Area in 1993. Spreading 2,200km2 (849 square miles), Phou Den Din NPA features hilly terrain with an elevation of 2,000m (6,562 feet). Compared to others, this protected area is not easily reached. Visitors can enter by foot or boat. 

Beside homing to some species of gibbon, black bear, leopards, elephants, Phou Den Din also has lesser fish eagles, crested kingfishers. 

Muang Khua town

Muang Khua is a town of Phongsaly Province which is roughly 200km (124 miles) in the south of Phongsaly town. This town is next to Luang Prabang Province, and close to the border crossing point from Laos to Vietnam. 

Although this town is more popular as a stopover, you can take nice trekking to the hill tribe village. Muang Khua offers a beautiful view of karst mountains and rivers. The slow boat ride from Muang Khua to Muang Ngoi is a lovely option to enjoy the peaceful and pleasant scenes. From Muang Ngoi, you can have a land transfer to Luang Prabang to carry on your Laos trip.

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