Travel Guide to Houaphanh

Houaphanh, considered the birthplace of Lao PDR, is mostly known for Viengxay Cave City, where the Pathet Lao leaders planned and carried out the revolution for independence. The north-eastern province can be easily accessed from Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and neighbouring Vietnam. Though getting around can be a challenge, its attractions are well worth the effort. … Read more

Houaphanh Accommodation

Most of the province’s 10 hotels and almost 60 guesthouses are clustered close to Xam Neua’s sites, the Nam Xam River, and the airport, though rooms are available closer to the caves. Homestays and village lodges are available at trekking and excursion destinations. You can find 2-3-star hotel rooms for $25-50, though lower-end establishments lack … Read more

Houaphanh’s Top Attractions

  Investigate the Hintang ancient burial site, or take the Night Safari to search for wild animals. Discover the heritage, culture, and nature of this rarely visited province. Heritage A walk around Xam Neua Town reveals its past dating to the 16th century. In the centre of town straddling Phati Road, a pair of ancient … Read more

Things to Do in Houaphanh

  Take a leisurely walk through Xam Neua Town, or head further away on the Xam Neua Bike Trail. No trip to Houaphanh is complete without going on the Viengxay Caves Tour or visiting the Hintang Archaeological Park with 2,000-year-old burial sites. The Viengxay Bike Loop to the Vietnam border opens the way to local … Read more

Houaphanh’s History

Houaphanh was home of the Bon Man Kingdom (Muang Phuan) beginning in the 14th century. Following a Vietnamese invasion in 1478, it became the Tran Ninh Territory of the Dại Viet Kingdom with the capital at present-day Xam Neua. The area was once known as Hua Phan Tang Ha Tang Hok, “the fifth and the sixth province.” It remained a Vietnamese … Read more

Houaphanh’s Ethnic Diversity

  The Hmong migrated from China to Houaphanh in the 19th century. Most live in hilltop villages, and are skilled at hunting, mixing herbal medicines, and raising animals, particularly horses. Intricate embroidery and heavy silver jewellery adorn their clothes, and some villages create batik designs using beeswax and indigo dyes. The Khmu came to Laos … Read more

Getting to Houaphanh

  Lao Skyway offers six flights a week (Monday-Saturday) to Xam Neua, departing between 09:00 and 09:30, and arriving about an hour later. Check their latest timetable. Three local busses leave from Vientiane Capital’s Northern Bus Terminal at 07:00, 09:30, and 12:00 for LAK170,000. A sleeper bus departs at 14:00 for LAK210,000, and a VIP … Read more

Getting Around Houaphanh

  Sawng taews (Pickup trucks with benches) are available in district centres, and offer an easy way to travel around the province. You can also rent bicycles for about $1-2 per day. Motorbikes are available in Xam Neua. The chart below shows scheduled transportation from Xam Neua to district centres and attractions. Destination Distance Vehicle … Read more

Houaphanh’s Buddhist Temples & Shrines

  Vat Phoxaysanalam: Visit Xam Neua’s most sacred temple. Vat Phoxaysanalam houses a Buddha statue dating from 1565 and weighs 3,850 kg. Stupas and monk’s houses (kuti) also sit on the grounds. Location: The temple and stupa are located at the northern end of town on Phati Road near the confluence of the Nam Hang … Read more

Houaphanh Caves

  You’ll find a string of caves with specific wartime purposes from Cave City and on Route 6 between Xam Neua Town and the Vietnamese border. Viengxay Cave City Viengxay’s “Cave City” housed some 20,000 people, when it served as Pathet Lao revolutionary movement’s command centre from 1964-1975. They designated individual caverns for specific purposes: … Read more