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.
Lao Skyway offers six flights a week (Monday-Saturday) to Xam Neua from Vientiane, while bus transport will take a bit of time. Once there, you’ll find several modes of transportation, from sawng taews (Pickup trucks with benches) and local busses to bicycles and motorbikes, to move around the province.
Houaphanh Province offers a variety of accommodation, and establishments are available in all the district centres. Hotels generally range in price from $20-60, while guesthouses run between $8-15.
More than 130 restaurants serve a variety of menu items including a variety of noodle and sticky rice dishes. Local favourites include soup phak, a vegetable salad flavoured with sesame, and a chili paste known as jaeow pa baum.