Phongsaly’s 400-year-old Tea Trees

Phongsaly’s 400-year-old Tea Trees

Bernie Rosenbloom

 

Take a trip 18 km from Phongsaly Town to Ban Komaen’s Green Tea Pavilion and its 400-year-old tea plantation, which some say has the oldest tea trees in the world.

Visitors learn how the trees’ far-reaching root systems extend deep into the mineral-rich soil, which gives Phongsaly Tea its distinct aroma and taste. You’ll see the oldest trees standing six metres high and up to 20 cm in diameter. 

The Tea Pavilion’s exhibition offers insight into the world of tea, from its legendary beginnings to its production and consumption by the Phou Noi. Displays explain how the tea is picked and processed by the villagers into “tea cigars”.

A 1-hour stroll through the ancient plantation leads to the top of the tea mountain for a stunning view of Phongsaly and the village temple with its big-eared Buddha statue.

Ban Komaen makes an ideal 1-day excursion, the relatively flat road passing through more recent tea plantations and offering a superb view of Phongsaly and surrounding mountains.

Green Tea Whiskey Village

Everyone knows that drinking a daily cup of green tea keeps the body in good health, reduces fat, and preserves a clear mind. But for a fuzzy mind, try green tea whiskey (lao khao).

Tourists know about clear and potent lao khao rice liquor, but Phongsaly’s distilling adds a final stage that turns it green. How do the Phou Noi villagers in Kounsouk Village do it? During the final stage of the distillation process this rice whisky runs over freshly picked raspberry leaves to absorb the green colour.

To visit the distillery from Phongsaly Town, take the flat road at Phu Fa Hotel and travel 4.5 km to Kounsouk Village.

Ethnic Groups

The Phongsaly Ethnic Museum, launched in 2013, presents the province and its people, their origin, and way of life. It includes information and exhibits about different aspects of the ethnic groups’ daily life, clothes, music, agriculture, housing, social organization, and rituals and ceremonies

The museum is located in the centre of Phongsaly town, next to the Agriculture Promotion Bank and Lao Telecom, and is open Monday through Friday.

To navigate Phongsaly, the Tourism Office offers town maps and bicycle rentals for LAK 50,000 a day. Tuk tuks are available for LAK 250,000-300,000 per day during dry season. Motorcycles can be rented at Amazing Lao Travel.  

To learn more about Top Attractions in Phongsaly, click here

 

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