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Muang Sing District is located in Luang Namtha's far northwest bordering Myanmar and China's Yunnan province with historic Muang Sing Town as its administrative and economic centre. Its landscape is predominantly mountainous with elevation ranging between 540 to 2,094 meters, traditionally dominated by forest and upland swidden farming. Muang Sing has a total population of 23,500 inhabitants, spreading over 95 villages. Muang Sing is a traditional Tai Lue, Tai Neua and Akha cultural nexus, as well as a trade center for Tai Dam, Hmong, Mien and Lolo. The most common groups are Akha accounting for about half of the residents followed by Tai Lue accounting for 30%. While Akha primarily inhabit upland areas, Tai Lue villages are some of the province's oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the northern reaches of the Muang Sing valley.

Best time to visit

The best time of year to visit Muang Sing for general outdoor tourist activities is from November to February. The weather turns cool and dry with temperatures dropping as low as 5°C at night. In this time winter woolies will be needed in the morning and evening. 

March and April are the hottest months, the average temperature is 25°C. 

The wet season runs from May to October, the path up the mountains will be more difficult and the rains may interfere with your outside activities.

Check the below table for the general idea of Muang Sing weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 25.7 18.7 11.4
Feb 29.4 20.8 11.1
Mar 30.9 23 13.4
Apr 32.6 26.3 17.8
May 32.2 27.7 20.9
Jun 30.9 27.4 22.3
Jul 30 26.9 22.4
Aug 30.3 26.8 22.1
Sep 30.6 26.6 21.6
Oct 29.5 25 19.5
Nov 27.7 22.3 16
Dec 25.3 19.3 13.2

Muang Sing's current weather and 7-day forecast


Muang Sing is the biggest city in Luang Namtha Province and used to be the epicenter of all things opium. It is near the border to both Myanmar and China and now a popular pass through for those traveling around the region. It was part of the French Laos as well in the early 20th century, with a population of Lao, Yunnanese, and nine other ethnic groups.
But most people miss the many ethnic villages scattered in the surrounding mountains hidden by forests and rice paddies. In fact, out of the 37 thousand inhabitants about 60% of them are from Akha with many Tai Neua and Tai Lu in addition to other smaller tribes. With many up and coming eco trails and day treks, here’s what to do in Muang Sing:

Trekking Muang Sing

With its pristine, natural beauty, stunning mountain views and ethnic hill-tribe villages, remote trekking in Muang Sing is the real deal. We offer the program tour from one to multi-day programs, treks vary in their intensity and inclusions (such as village visits, homestays, river boat rides and foraged meals).

Muang Sing Museum 

Close to the center of town, is a good place to start exploring Muang Sing's rich culture and history. The old wood and brick building was once the residence of Phanya Sekong, a local lord called Jao Fa Noi or Little Prince, who ruled over the area in the early 20th century. The building was restored in 2005. Due to its functional structure the façade was refinished, but the clay roofing tiles that covered the residence of Phaya Sekong before were converted to a mix of corrugated iron and asbestos tiles painted red.

There is an excellent collection of traditional tools from the major ethnic groups in the area. Displayed on the building's upper floor is an interesting variety of valuable 18 - 19th century historic and religious pieces that have been preserved by the people of Muang Sing. 

Open Monday-Friday from 9 to 11:30 am and 1:30 to 3:30 pm, admission fee 5,000 kip (plus 5,000 kip extra for the Akha film).

Ethnic Groups Villages 

Take a guided tour by one of the local operators or hop on a bicycle for a full-day exploring Muang Sings’ town environs. On a tour you will visit 8-10 villages and learn about the rural life of different ethnic groups. The China border is only 10 km from town and makes for a refreshing journey on a bicycle. You can't cross the border, however the scenery along the way is beautiful and worth the ride. The Muang Sing Market The heart of the town and attracts people from the entire region to buy fresh foods and products for daily use imported from China. Best time to visit the market is between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning: retailers from all the ethnic groups arrive to sell vegetables, fruits and meat, and Tai Lue women present their famous noodles. It's also a great place to look for local handicrafts purchased by Tai Dam, Tai Lue and other ethnic groups. Try the local food such as soybean paste, waffles and local sweets (‘Kainom’) often made from sticky rice and coconut.

That Xieng Tueng (Xieng Tung Stupa) 

The most important stupa in Muang Sing. It is said to contain the Adam's apple of Buddha. The date of when it was built is unknown. To the left of the stupa are some stairs which lead to a sacred fountain and a sacred stone. If you follow a path to the right of the stupa (be careful!) downhill you might be able to find the old moat and wall of the stupa. The biggest festival of the year, That Xieng Tung Festival, is held here every year during the full moon of the 12th lunar month (usually in late October or early November) and attracts a wide gathering from villages and people around the district and Luang Namtha province. The stupa is located 5.5 km from the center of town, on the road towards Luang Namtha, situated on top of a hill. There is a big dirt road leading up to it on your right as you're coming from Muang Sing.

Temples & Monasteries

In Muang Sing more that 27 temples (Vat), that the old Vat is Vat Xieng Chai (Vat Luang). The most important vat in the area is located off the main road next to the museum. By 1890 only Vat Luang existed within the town walls. Vat Namkeo, which has a large monk residency, is a short walk from the fort. It is also quite beautiful and is located on the road to Xieng kok, just as you turn off from the paved road to Namtha on the right. Vat Xiang Yeun, and Vat Xieng Lae can be visited along the way to the Muang Sing Market on the northern edge of town. Vat Xieng In short distance of the bus station.

Xieng Khaeng Mountains & Upper Mekong 

Xieng Khaeng is a largely unexplored, stunning region with beautiful mountains, waterfalls and caves, embedded between mountains and the Mekong River. Only a couple of hours from Muang Sing town, the Akha and Tai Lue villages in this remote area have still kept their traditions and culture. Access to Xieng Khaeng is difficult and a local guide is required. The northern-most extreme of the Mekong River in Laos is found in Muang Sing. As the Mekong rushes out of China into the Green Triangle bordering Myanmar, it makes its way through steep canyons before slowing down further south. This section can be accessed by boat from Xiengkok in Long District, but also by gravel road leading across the mountains from Muang Sing down to Xieng Khaeng. On this remote and beautiful stretch of the river are some of the oldest Tai Lue settlements in the district: Ban Xay and Ban Xieng Khaeng. Those looking for adventure can explore Xieng Khaeng on a 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 days trek and river cruise or on a 4WD tour.

Nam Keo Waterfall

Nature lovers will enjoy this place. The multi-tiered Nam Keo Waterfall is located about 2 kilometers from the That Xieng Tung and can be visited as part of a guided tour from the Muang Sing Ecoguide Service or while on the Akha Experience. Pha Yueng Waterfall is a good place for a refreshing dip. It is located in Nam Ha National Protected Area, 17 km south of Muang Sing on the road to Luang Namtha. Follow the trail along the river for about 20 Minutes, and then you will reach the waterfall.

There are a mix of guesthouses interspersed on the main street heading into the center of town where the museum is located.

Cheng Jing De Hotel

This is a new hotel on the main road in place of the old market, opened in April 2015. Clean double and twin rooms with A/C, TV and good (Asian style wet floor) bathroom. Some parts of the building were still under construction on May 2015. Rooms were also missing some of the equipments like no mirrors in room or bathroom. 

The price is around 100,000 kip. 

Phou Iu Guest House and Restaurant

Premier ecotourism lodge (Eco-lodge). It's off the main street, about 100 m down a dirt road on the left just past Nam Keo Luang Bridge. Comfortable clean rooms. 11 separate bungalows, 6 twin rooms and 14 double rooms and 3 triples. Room facilities: fan, hot water in bath room, small table, water, bath towel, wardrobe, big chair made by wooden inside living room and outside for relax and reading, double room, single room and provide extra bad. Bungalows are constructed with local materials in a local Tai Lue, Khmu and Akha style adapted for your comfort and pleasure.

Doubles and twins 80,000 kip, bungalows 150,000 kip.

Phou Iu II is the best and practically the only eating option – luckily it’s good. It’s a large menu of stir-fried meat and veg dishes with rice or noodles. The portions are big, ingredients fresh, prices reasonable and the food tasty. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if you aren’t staying at this guesthouse, we recommend coming here for a meal or two.

Tailu Restaurant has downsized and moved across from its old location (which is now a Chinese business), a sign of the hard times in tourism. The owners are still welcoming and serve traditional Tai Lue cuisine, which is quite different from Lao food. The menu has English translations and explanations about Tai Lue dishes like crispy buffalo skin and young bamboo shoots stir fried with egg, lemongrass and soy sauce. They also do a cheap Western breakfast. A must try is the stir-fried “Muang Sing khao soi noodles,” a flat and wide fresh rice noodle that’s stir-fried with a fermented soybean paste and roasted chilli. With vegetables it’s only 15,000 kip. The owners here speak some English and it’s worthwhile to stop in during the day and order dinner in advance so the cook can go to the market and see what’s fresh.

You can try khao soi noodle soup at the morning market. There’s also a good noodle soup shop that serves Lao-style pho and fresh chewy khao piak rice noodles for a lunchtime fix. Follow the main street in the direction of the Chinese border, cross the small bridge over the Nam Sing river and it will be a few hundred metres on your left across from a tiny pharmacy. Look for the building shaded by hanging adverts and tables inside loaded with the usual noodle soup condiments and sauces.

If you’re out exploring the villages near the Chinese border, try stopping by Adima Guesthouse. Their restaurant pavilion is a tranquil spot overlooking paddy and the stir-fry dishes are cheap, ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 kip.

By air

The nearest airport is Luang Namtha, which has daily flights from Vientiane. The drive to Muang Sing is about two hours. The traffic is light on the road but it gets a little bumpy. 

Contact us for the latest flight schedule and price. Or you can check via some online platform such as or

Here you can find some tips to book the cheapest flight

By buses

The bus station is located beside the Morning Market at the north end of town, a 10-minute walk from Phou Iu Guesthouse. Buses or songthaews from Muang Sing travel to Muang Long, Luang Nam Tha and China. To get to Xieng Kok, change buses in Muang Long. You can also buy bus tickets at the Tourism Office (they add a 10,000 kip commission) but there is really no reason to. Buy your ticket at the bus station at least 30 minutes before the departure time, wait and hope for the best.

Buses from here are usually modern minibuses, but it won’t depart until full – or overfull. Our personal Muang Sing bus record was 16 people, three babies and luggage in an eight-passenger van.
The nearby border to China is open to Lao and Chinese only. The nearest border crossing to China for foreigners is Boten (via Luang Nam Tha).

Luang Nam Tha (60 km) departs 08:00, 09:30, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:30, takes 2 hours, 25,000 kip

Muang Long (50 km) departs 09:00, 11:00, takes 2-3 hours, 30,000 kip

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

Get around 

To get around Muang Sing tuk-tuks are readily available at the morning market. Bicycles can be rented in town. There is no local public transport in town.


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A notice issued by Luang Prabang provincial office says that Luang Prabang will arrange Boun Hor Khaopadapdin, an annual festival held to feed spirits with home-made parcels of food, and the boat racing activities along Namkhan River. 

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