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Muang Xay (Oudomxay, Udomxai etc) is the capital of the multiethnic province of Oudomxay Province, located in the Nam Ko River Basin and surrounded by scenic mountains. It's the largest city in Northern Laos and, if you're travelling by land, you'll probably end up here at some point.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Muang Xay is between October and February. The weather is not hot, and the humidity is less during these months. It is a great time to be outdoors for hiking, cycling and exploring the surroundings. 

From late February, summer sets in slowly with March to May being the hottest months. 

Monsoon begins in late July and lasts until September, 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 Xay weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 25.6 18.6 11.2
Feb 28.9 21.2 11.8
Mar 30.7 23.6 14.6
Apr 31.9 26.2 18.7
May 31.8 27.1 20.8
Jun 30.4 26.8 22.4
Jul 29.3 26.1 22.3
Aug 29.8 26 21.9
Sep 30 25.9 21.3
Oct 29.1 24.4 18.8
Nov 27 21.4 15.4
Dec 25.1 19.1 12.7

Muang Xay's current weather and 7-day forecast


Muang Xay is close to pretty spots like the Nam Ko River Basin and is known for being encircled by dramatic mountain ranges made up of craggy limestone cliffs. There are some famous caves located here, as well as stunning waterfalls and unspoilt sections of rainforest, so if you like hiking there is a huge amount to do outside the center of the city. This part of Laos is also home to a number of villages that house ethnic minorities and it is possible to stay overnight in these communities to witness an authentic side of life in Laos.

Here are the best things to do in Muang Xay:

1. Oudomxay Museum

Unless in the Museum there are just few items to look at, the view you have from the top of "Phou Sebey" mountain is very nice. Go there early in the morning, when the sun is still low - you may watch the town centre waking up and enjoy the morning light as it starts caressing the roofs before the day gets too hot.

2. Phuuthat-Stupa

Just opposite of the stairs to the museum there are similar stairs to climb, leading to an 18 meters high Stupa. The stupa was built in 14th century to allow all people of the region to come together, to celebrate religious festivals. When under French control, the area of the stupa was made into a war camp. During the first Vietnamese war the stupa was destroyed and only bricks were left. Reconstruction started in 1994 and was completed 3 years later. Religious celebrations are held at the stupa during the day of each full. Since April 2010 there is also a golden, 15m-high Buddha statue watching over Oudomxay from the top of Phou That, seeming to spur Oudomxay people to new religiousness.

Enjoy the view over the town and see the stupa and Buddha shining in the sunset. The monks at the nearby temple are always happy to practice their English with foreigners.

3. Chom Ong Cave

Located 45 km from Muang Xay, Chom Ong Cave gives the visitor a dazzling feeling of entering Tolkien's Mines of Moria.

The biggest cave in Northern Laos is a recently discovered system of more than 16 km natural tunnels, adorned with pretty sparkling sinter formations, huge stalagmites and stalagtites. Passages have ceiling heights up to 50m and there is a stream course flowing in the cave. The natural attraction is accessible in a 50min walk from the village "Ban Chom Ong".

4. Ban Chom Ong

This is is an outstandingly beautiful village of about 500 people of the ethnic group Khmu. It is starting point to the biggest cave in Northern Laos. Surrounded by paddy rice fields, locked by mountains, it is still largely untouched by modern influences. There is no electricity nor mobile phone signal in the village, but as a compensation you'll get the chance to observe authentic village life as for example handicraft production - most of the people still wear their traditional Khmu clothes. For their scarce visitors, the villagers have a basic bamboo guesthouse with an outside Lao style bathroom, and they will be happy to cook meals for you. There is very little English spoken in the village, so prepare for communication problems or take a translator with you. If you decide to go on your own, you can rent a motorbike or a car to go on the (very difficult) 40 km dirt road from Muang Xay to the village.

5. Nam Heeng

If you're very adventurous, it is also possible to reach Ban Chom Ong going to a village called Ban Nam Heeng first. The village itself is not particularly interesting, but from it is a 16km walk to Chom Ong village, where the cave is located. So called "Packing" cars leave from a public transport station near the normal bus station. The challenging hike from Nam Heeng to Chom Ong takes approximately 5 hours. It is advisable to ask the villagers for directions to Ban Chom Ong.

6. Nam Kad Waterfall and Pristine Forest

While visiting Nam Kad Waterfall you can not only swim in the ice cold basin under the waterfall but also see one of the most untouched and beautiful pristine forests in Laos. Rent a motorbike and follow the sign which says "Nam Kad". At a village called "Ban Faen", turn right, and then just follow the road. You'll have to cross the winding river 5 or 6 times, which might be slightly difficult in the rainy season. When the road ends, it is a 30min walk to the waterfall in a wonderful jungle atmosphere. The distance from Muang Xay to Nam Kad is 23km.

7. Phachaosingkham Temple

Phachaosingkham Temple is in Meuang La Disrtrict, around 28 Km from Xay town on the direction to Phongsaly. It’s a sacred and famous temple in Oudomxay or we can say even in Laos. The temple was built more than 2,000 years ago. It used to be a very small temple in the past. People from different places go there almost everyday just for their own purposes. According to people - the most sacred temple. If you want to find out more about the temple we would suggest you to visit it just to see the real situation there. A place where you should not miss.

8. Ban Nyor -  Thai Lue minority with their handicraft production acitivities

Ban Nyor is situated in Meuang Beng, 53 km from Meuang Xay town on the road to Pakbeng in the economic corridor between Chinese in the North Vietnam in the East and Thailand in the West. This unique location provides many economic as well as touristic opportunities. In Ban Nyor you will also see and learn on hand-made pottery production system, cotton processing, textile weaving and natural cotton dying. These are their cash income generating activities. Moreover, their traditional food, Thai Lue homestay, traditional show and Baci ceremony are the most enjoyable things that you can share together with them (at least once in a life time).

9. Talae waterfall

Talae  is an amazing waterfall, located in Ban Talae from Meung Houn town about 42 km. The waterfall is in the district protected area. When you reach the waterfall you will also get fresh atmosphere under the pristine forest. The length of the waterfall is about 600 meters and consists of 7 different beautiful waterfall levels. The best time to visit this waterfall is during June to February of every year.  A famous picnic place for the local people there.

10. Nam Haeng waterfall

Nam Haeng is an extremely beautiful waterfall in Ban Katangya Village, Meuang Houn District. (24 Km from Meung Houn to the waterfall). There, lots of natural plants and species can be found and seen. Every where is green and you can also swim in the pure water there. It’s a famous picnic place for Meuang Houn residents, especially on weekends. It’s said that people love to refresh themselves on weekends after 5 days working.

11. Nam Hin lake

It’s a long lake and situated is in Ban Houay Oun village,  from Meuang Xay town only 8 km. Lots of small rivers flow down from the mountain to the lake. That’s why the lake becomes wider and bigger. The local people there do organic farming around the lake. A famous place for weekend picnic for Lao families. Also a place where the government always release fingerings or young fishes every year there. There are restaurants there and some boats, so you can also enjoy the boat trip around the lake by yourself. How to get there? just by Tuk -Tuk or rent a motorbike. 

12. Akha ethnic group in Ban Aa No Village

Akha is one famous minority group in Oudomxay.This Akha tribe moved originally from China to Vietnam and finally to Laos in 1882 (around 129 years ago). Aa No is the name of the leader who led his people (40 families) to Laos and the village was named Aa No after he passed away. The village’s population continued to increase, including through migration of Akha people from other places. Aa No Village is situated in the Northeast of La District (Meuang La), about 32.5 km from Meuang La town. Access to the village is possible all year round, but it’s quite hard during the raining season. There, you can experience more about their traditional culture, daily lifestyle, and many more things in the village. It’s extremely a very interesting place for people to discover, especially during the Akha New Year celebration on February of every year.

There are a number of decent guesthouses in town. Basic rooms with showers and hot water should cost around 50,000 kip. General room prices in the town center including TV are around 50,000-80,000 Kip. A few minutes from the bus station are places for 50,000 kip including tv and en suite bathrooms. Be sure to bargain if they claim no TV or hot water is 50,000 kip or more.

Vila Keo Seum Sack 

It has beautiful light double rooms, including TV and air-con

Budget: 100,000 kip

Lithavixay Guesthouse 

Besides good rooms, free wireless internet access. 

Budget: Doubles 60,000-80,000. 

Phanmixay Guesthouse 

Inside the bus station compound. Has clean and nice rooms. 

Budget: US$4 for a double room with shower, hot water and cable TV.

Dokbouadeng Guesthouse 

Left side of the main road a little bit in town. Has clean, naturally cool rooms with bathroom and hot water, free WiFi and water and.. soft beds! 

Budget: 80,000-100,000.  

Vilavong G.H

Small, nice guest house. Friendly owners. 

Budget: 40,000-60,000.  

Oudomxai’s northern location places it near China, Vietnam, and Thailand, giving this city a multicultural feel that can be seen in the type of food available to eat around the city.

Because so much of the city is populated with Chinese businesspeople, a lot of the restaurants in town cater to Chinese tastes, but of course there are still plenty of delicious Lao options available as well. There are a few restaurants well-loved by travellers who come through Oudomxai, in addition to the food available in markets and street stalls.

Prices in Oudomxai are comparable to the rest of Laos, with dishes in restaurants costing around LAK20,000 or a bit more. Snacks and smaller items from the street carts (such as the traditional Lao sausages, barbecued chicken, spring rolls, or other items) will generally cost around LAK5,000.

Local Food

Supailin Restaurant is a traveller favourite in Laos, with a wide variety of delicious Lao dishes, as well as some good Western food and vegetarian dishes. You can find various soups, noodle dishes, papaya salad, laap, rice and stir fries here, all for large portions and cheap prices. Travellers from around the world have praised the restaurant, not only for the food but also for the kind and generous service from the owner of the restaurant. However, when this spot is busy with customers, you can often find yourself sitting around and waiting for quite a while for your food to be ready, because unless things have changed in recent years, the food is all cooked by one woman who can easily get overloaded when she’s got 17 dishes to prepare! Supailin Restaurant is located near the post office.

Cafes and Bakeries

Siso Bakery is another popular spot in town, located near the roundabout. They have a selection of several baguettes, sandwiches (including Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches), homemade breads, cookies, and general bakery items. It's a popular breakfast spot. Their hamburgers and veggie burgers are another favourite item on the menu; some even say it's the best burger in Laos.

The Sinouk Cafe, which is located in Charming Lao Hotel, serves both Lao and Western dishes and has a bit of a more modern feel than some of the more traditional spots around town. It's a good place to relax and use the wifi, and prices are not too expensive.

Markets and street stalls

There are also three food markets in town, and browsing around through these is of course the best way to find fresh fruits. Shopping in the markets in Southeast Asia is always a fascinating, sensory experience, and the markets in Oudomxai are no exception. You’ll be able to see the variety of unique foods and the products of different ethnic groups; Oudomxai has several different types of foods and fruits that are not so readily available in other places in Laos. While the markets are open every day, you’ll find them to be especially bustling during the weekends. These are day markets, so if you're hungry in the evening, the fresh markets will be closed. You’ll have to look for street food or other restaurant food elsewhere in the evenings.

These are just some ideas to give you a feel for what to expect in terms of food in Oudomxai; like anywhere else in the world, wandering around the streets and watching for the places that look good, cheap, and well populated can always earn you something to eat. Even if you're only in town while connecting between two different bus journeys, a short wander from the old bus station is worth it to get a taste of the delicious and varied foods of northern Laos.

Get in

By plane

Lao Airlines has three flights a week to/from Vientiane (1 hr, full fare US$98). The local ticket reseller is located in Litthavixay Guesthouse in the town center on the main street.

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 bus

Northern bus terminal (busses to/from north of Udomxai) is in the center of the town. Southern bus station (busses to/from south of Udomxai) is 5 km from city center.

•    Buses from/to Luang Namtha cost 60,000 kip (July 2019) takes up to 4 hours. Departures from Muang Xay are at 08:30, 11:30 and 15:00. Departure from Luang Namtha to Muang Xay are at 08:30, 12:00 and 14:30 (December 2019). Bus tickets can be bought in every guest house for 70,000 kip. Price includes transportation to the new bus station, a couple of kilometers South of the town.
•    Buses from/to Nong Khiaw cost 45,000 kip takes up to 4.5 hours. Departure from Nong Khiaw are at 11:00.

•    Buses from/to Luang Prabang cost 60,000 kip, leaves three times a day and take about 5 hours.
•    Bus from/to Pak Beng cost 40,000 kip, takes up to 4 hours. Departure at 12:00 from Pak Beng Bus Station at the end of the main road.
•    Bus to Kunming cost 400,000 kip (for sleeping bus) takes up to 20 hours. Departure at 11:30am (actually leaves about 12 or 12:30pm).
•    Further daily buses come from/go to Vientiane, Phongsali, Muang Khua and Bokeo. Some buses also go to China.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

Get around

Most of the town's highlights are within walking distance from one another and the free maps offered by the Provincial Tourism Office offer great directions. The Tourism Office is located on the main street, just after the bridge over the Kor River, on the left side as you walk from the bus station (walking distance approx. 1 km). They also offer bikes (50,000 kip/day) and motorcycles (100,000 kip/day) for hire. There are other places in town where you can rent motorbikes, just watch out for the signs.


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Taking a cruise on the fascinating Mekong River offers a unique and memorable travel experience. The Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, flows through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each destination along the river offers its own distinct cultural, historical, and natural attractions. In this article, we will go over what you can expect when cruising the Mekong River. 


Despite being open to tourism for the past two decades, Laos remains a destination brimming with hidden treasures and unexplored gems, awaiting the arrival of curious adventurers.

Among these remarkable places is the Xe Champhone Loop, an enchanting location that captures the essence of Laos.

In early September 2022, we had the privilege of embarking on an Educational Tour organized by the esteemed Tetraktys Organization. Our objective was to delve into the wonders of this loop and promote its allure to international tourists.

During our expedition, we were awe-struck by the captivating sights and valuable insights we gained. The area boasts an abundance of captivating natural landscapes, rich traditional culture, and warm-hearted hosts.

We have compiled comprehensive information about this captivating region below.

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Luang Prabang will celebrate the boat racing festival (Boun Souang Heua) in Namkhan River during Buddhist Lent Period, on August 26th, 2022.

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. 

The province intends to promote the traditional festival and practices in hopes of attracting more domestic and foreign tourists, generating revenue for locals.

Traditional racing boats are made of a single tree and can accommodate up to fifty rowers.

The boats are considered sacred, are cleaned, and are given offerings which are believed to bring victory to the team.

In the downtown heart of Luang Prabang, there will also be gatherings and markets.

The festival will be held on August 26th, 2022, the same day with Boun Khao Padapdine.

Covid-19 put a stop to traditional customs and festivals for almost three years, but now that the measurements have been relaxed, tourist destinations in Laos expect to recommence festivities and offer hope for travelers.


How long to spend in Laos may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out. 

How long can you stay in Laos? 

Well, as long as you like! From 7 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Laos and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Laos is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Laos with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Laos.


The Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) is a merit-making ceremony traditionally practiced by ethnic Lao people near the beginning of the wet season in numerous villages and municipalities, in the regions of Northeastern Thailand and Laos. Celebrations typically include preliminary music and dance performances, competitive processions of floats, dancers and musicians on the second day, and culminating on the third day in competitive firings of home-made rockets. Local participants and sponsors use the occasion to enhance their social prestige, as is customary in traditional Buddhist folk festivals throughout Southeast Asia.

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