We appreciated traveling in remote areas...the slice-of-life experiences made the trip worthwhile.
Party of four from Missouri & Tokyo

Remote Lands of Laos: Phongsaly & the Far North

This loveable, landlocked country has fast become a popular stop along the Southeast Asian backpacking route thanks to its gorgeous scenery, rich culture and air of mystery that its tropical neighbors lost long ago. But for most, visiting Laos involves making a beeline to either Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng, with the northern region – one the most spectacular parts of the country – missed altogether due its sheer remoteness. This quick four-day tour takes you where others don’t. You’ll explore the charming capital of Vientiane before flying upcountry to Boun Neu – not too far from the Chinese border. From there, the quaint town of Phongsaly will be used as a base to visit untouched hilltop village tribes, scale towering mountains and experience authentic, local life at markets and restaurants.  

Highlights   Pricing
  • Tour the capital, Vientiane, with stops to some of the country’s grandest temples and monuments
  • Stay in Phongsaly, the northernmost – and highest – town in the whole country
  • Scale Phou Fa Mountain in a 4x4, with stunning views from the top looking down on the town below
  • Visit the remote, untouched hilltop tribes at Akha Nugui and Ban Gnoy Neu
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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1

The sleepy Laotian capital has plenty in the way of charm and sights to keep the steady flow of visitors happy. Waste no time in checking out the city with cultural visits to the magnificent That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple and a museum (depending on arrival time). Enjoy the luxuries of your suite at Settha Palace Hotel and prepare for departure the following day.

Day 2
Phongsaly Town

Time to head upcountry – out of the capital and to the remote town of Phongsaly near the Chinese border. The two-hour flight takes you to a nearby town (Boun Neu) where there’s time to explore the local market. Afternoon visits go to a local village as well as Phou Fa Mountain; make your way up to the top in the all-terrain car for a stunning panoramic view of the town below.

Day 3
Akha Nugui/Phongsaly Town

On this third day you’ll be going even further off the beaten track as the tour makes its way out of Phongsaly to Akha Nugui, one of the most interesting and picturesque hilltop tribes in the region. This is a real chance to witness the long-lasting northern Laotian culture, sampling the food and traditions of this particularly remote part of the world. Stop off for another taste of hilltribe life at Ban Gnoy Neu on the way back to your guesthouse in Phongsaly Town.

Day 4

Enjoy an inclusive breakfast before making the short drive to the airport in Boun Neu. From there, it’s a two-hour flight back to the capital, Vientiane, where this short four-day tour ends, and you are free to journey on to your next destination of choice.


Suggested Accommodations

Settha Palace Hotel

Settha Palace Hotel

The historic Settha Palace Hotel is centrally located in Vientiane within walking distance of the Mekong River, Thatluang Stupa, Namphu Fountain, and other cultural highlights. Built in French colonial style circa 1932 and restored and reopened in 1999, the hotel has 22 rooms and three suites, all featuring rosewood four-poster beds and armoires, and WiFi connectivity. For dining, La Belle Epoque offers French cuisine, and the Sidewalk Café is a pleasant open-air venue offering Asian and international dishes. Amenities include a spa, pool and Jacuzzi; however there is no fitness center. Additionally, there is a business center with Internet and fax services. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Wattai International Airport and a 25-minute drive to Thadeua, where there is a border bridge to Thailand.

Sannaly Guest House

Sannaly Guest House

Overlooking the pretty Northern Laotian town of Phongsali, this basic guesthouse provides simple rooms - good for a few nights of resting after exploring the region. Although amenities and services are kept to a minimum (don’t expect any lavish swimming pools or 24-hour room service), the guesthouse does provide hot water, and some of the more modern room are fitted with TVs and other modern conveniences. The real draw here is the location: shared balconies afford some nice views of the town towards the front, and windows at the back face the rolling green mountains in the distance. The quiet yet ever-so-quaint town of Phongsali is the highest in the whole country, situated around 4,500 feet above sea level. 

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our co-founder Jay Tindall loves travelling throughout Laos, in particular the remote tribal areas in the north & south of the country.
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