Things to Do in Phongsaly
Old Phongsaly Town
Phongsaly Town remains much as it was 100 years ago. Having avoided the ravages of the Indochinese Wars, the old quarter still displays old wooden Yunnan architecture, which is rare, even in southern China. Most residents are Haw and speak Chinese, and China had a consulate in town in the 1970s, which is now the Phou Fa Hotel.
Excursions from Phongsaly Town
Phongsaly Town is the base for numerous treks and adventures. The most difficult decision a visitor makes is on which one to embark. You can take a 1-day sightseeing tour to a 5-day jungle expedition, and everything in between.
1-day Hill Tribe Tour
Discover several ethnic villages north of Phongsaly Town and explore its wilderness on a 1-day drive. You’ll visit Ban Ngai-Neua with its traditional Tai Lue houses and Ban Panghok, where Akha women still wear traditional garb.
2-day Minority Tour
Visit Tai Lue, Tai Yang, Lolo, and Akha people, and spend the night in Ban Savang after 2.5 hours of trekking.
3-day Chinese Ethnic Excursion
Explore the Chinese border with stops in several ethnic villages. Start with a drive to visit Tai Lue, Akha, and Haw villages with an overnight at Ban Tha. Continue north to higher mountains with unreal views as you stop at Yao and Kher villages before spending the night in an Ou-Neua Town guesthouse. Then, go to Phongsaly’s northern tip and a Tai Neua village before the drive back to Phongsaly Town.
3-day Southwest Tribes
Leave Phongsaly Town to Ban Yor to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables before driving to Boun Tai for lunch. Stay on the road to visit Tai Lue, Tai Yang, Laoseng, and Mouchee ethnic villages, and overnight at Ban Namak with the Tai Yang. Day 2 starts with a hike to Ban Chalongly before a drive to Ban Huaymok (Hmong), Ban Huayhin (Akha), and Ban Bohat (Khmu) for the night. Then drive to Ban Bo Noy (Phou Noi) and Ban Longnai (Tai Yang) before returning to Phongsaly Town.
3-Day Southern Tribes
Drive to Ban Yor market, and continue to Ban Samphanxay to visit rarely seen ethnic groups: Mouchee, Cherpia, Erpa, Poulee, and Haw, before overnighting at Ban Sen-in, a Phou Noi village. The next day, drive through fantastic landscape to Oma villages, and spend the night at a Khmu village. Head to a pair of Phou Xang villages, and then drive along the Nam Ou River to Muang Khoua and a night in a guesthouse.
1-day Trek around Phongsaly Town
Head out on a 1-day trek around Phongsaly Town, taking a route past a tea plantation and forests to a small stream, and a climb to a mountaintop view. After lunch at Ban Phongsek, follow Nam Phan stream past upland rice fields and through forests to Ban Nongkinnaly’s tea plantations.
2-day Phongsaly Trek
Board a bus and then take a Nam Ou boat ride through mountains to begin a trek at Ban Watai (Lao Seng) to Akha villages. Trek for 5 hours to Ban Chakhampa where you’ll spend the night with a family. The next morning, explore the village, and then trek along the Nam Ou to a boat, and cruise to Hat Sa and a ride back to Phongsaly Town.
3-Day Trekking in Phongsaly
This trek explores Akha hill villages living north of Phongsaly Town. Trek to Ban Khounsouknoy (Phou Noi), famous for producing green Lao whisky. Continue trekking to the Nam Long River and a war-time French trail, and have a picnic lunch at Nam Long. Go further through thick jungle and upland rice fields to Ban Changtern (Akha) for the night.
Next, trek 6 hours to Ban Sopngam (Lao Seng) and into the mountains to Ban Peryenxangmai (Akha) and Ban Peryenxangkao for a homestay. Hit mountainous trails to Ban Chakhampa and continue along the Nam Ou River and a private boat to Ban Hat Sa and bus to Phongsaly.
3-day Trek to Explore Nam Lan Protected Area
Take a morning bus to the Chinese border at Ban Pakha before a trek to Ban Thao Duang (Lao Bith) for the night. Day 2 is a 6-hour trek in Nam Lan and a night at Naten village (Tai Yang). Continue to Ban Chalongly (Akha) and a tractor ride to a night at Bountai.
Excursions from Muang Khua
1-day Pakha Trail Trek
This moderate 5-hour trek climbs and descends hills through bamboo forests with herbal plants to visit Akha Lama and Tai Yuang villages, who still wear traditional garb. You’ll experience their lifestyle and participate in activities such as growing rice and distilling Lao whisky.
1-day Jungle-Nam Ou River Trail
This moderate excursion starts with a 2.5-hour trek from Muang Khua through forested hills to Ban Thuang Kok (Khmu). After lunch and a visit to experience the local lifestyle, board a boat and head back to Muang Khua on the Nam Ou.