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The capital of one of the most remote provinces in Laos, Xam Neua (also Sam Neua) sees very few western tourists and while the city itself has little to offer, the surrounding area is beautiful and includes the wonderful little town of Vieng Xay. Located in the far northeastern corner of Laos, getting here requires a very long bus ride over a windy road that climbs steadily into the mountains. It’s a spectacular ride, but due to the time and effort required, the only western visitors who make the trip are generally on their way to or from nearby Vietnam.

Best time to visit

The wet season runs from April or May to October and the best time to visit is directly after it ends, as the rice fields will be a lush green. The rest of the dry season from November to March and the hot season from March to April/May are fine too, but the farther removed from October, the browner the fields get.

Check the below table for the general idea of Samneua 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

Samneua's current weather and 7-day forecast


Visit the Markets

There is very little to do in Sam Neua itself, but travellers are recommended to visit the main market and the food market because they are completely authentic (not touristy at all)! The main market is right in the centre, and the food market is slightly further up the river. The food market is the most interesting of the two as it is heavily influenced by China and Vietnam, with frog, fish, squid and rat meat all for sale.

Hire a Motorcycle

There is a tourist information centre in Sam Neua, near the roundabout, and they can give you advice and maps. The landscape is well worth exploring as it is so beautifully green and dotted with rural villages.

To hire a moped, ask at the Dan Nao Meuang Xam restaurant near the hotel strip. It costs more than you would normally pay elsewhere, (100,000 Kip for moped hire) as there is very little competition. However, if you don’t want to get on a songthaew and can ride competently, it is a good way to explore the local area. 

The Vieng Xai Caves 

Click here to get more information about Vieng Xai Caves

Hintang Archaeological Park

The standing stones can be found in the Hintang Archaeological Park outside of Sam Neua, but this is located along a rough road that can only be reached by moped or songthaew. The stones are thought to be around 1500 years old and they’re about 3 metres tall. Alongside them, you can find spherical rocks that used to be used for funerary purposes.

Sam Neua has one street in the centre which has pretty much all the hotels on it, and they’re fairly similar. Sometimes you can pick and choose depending on the rooms and prices available. Most hotel owners do not speak English so be prepared to use hand gestures or a translation app! If you want to stay in Vieng Xai then try and find out which accommodation options are open before you go as a lot closes outside of peak season.

Best Budget-Friendly Accommodation in Sam Neua:

Chittavanh Hotel is pretty basic but clean with coffee and tea making facilities. The WiFi isn’t great but the rooms are spacious.

Phasouk Guesthouse is clean with a terrace to sit on, as well as good WiFi and hot water. A room costs around 70,000 Kip. 

Kheamxam Guesthouse is clean, with free tea and coffee facilities, hot water and a good fan. It is cheap but it doesn’t have WiFi.

There aren’t many places to eat and drink in Sam Neua, here are some of our suggestions:

Dan Nao Meuang Xam Restaurant: for Laotian food (and scooter hire).

Yuni Coffee: has great coffee and offers a western-style breakfast. They also speak English there if you ever need a taxi to the bus station.

Many Coffee: on Main Street is a great place for drinks or snacks.

Get in

Buses from Nong Khiaw cost 130,000 Kip and take 10-11 hours. You could come all the way from Luang Prabang, but I don’t recommend it, as the trip would take over 15 hours and you’ll pass through Nong Khiaw anyway. You could also spend a night in Vieng Thong to break up the trip even more.

Coming from Phonsavan, your bus will cost 100,000 Kip and take around 8 hours.

The bus station is just outside town, a few kilometers from the guesthouses. It’s all downhill and you could easily walk it, but tuk tuks should only cost a few thousand kip.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

Get around 

The town is small and you can walk most of it, but tuk tuks shouldn’t cost more than a few thousand kip if you want to rest your legs.

Contact us to get more information


Northeastern Laos Adventure Northeastern Laos Adventure

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Northeastern Laos Adventure
Trek & Hike / 15 days / fr. $1,397

Indulge yourself in the rich culture and nature of authentic Laos from vibrant temples to lush jungle. Luang Prabang offers you plenty of chances to take great photos and enjoy great food. Head to... More

Luang Prabang
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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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Vang Vieng


The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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4000 Islands


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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision. Check below our recommended plans regarding the theme you prefer or what you can do based on the time frame you have

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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.

Stay connected to discover more about this hidden gem!


The romance of train travel is alive and well in Laos. The recently-completed high-speed railway that stretches from Vientiane, through Laos, and into southern China is operating ‘full steam’ ahead. 


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.

The festival in Thailand also includes special programs and specific local patterns like Bung Fai (Parade dance) and a Beautiful Bung Fai float such as Yasothon the third weekend of May, and continues Suwannaphum District, Roi Et on the first weekend of June, Phanom Phrai District Roi Et during the full moon of the seventh month in Lunar year's calendar each year. The Bung Fai festival is not only found in Isan or Northeasthern Thailand and North Thailand and Laos, but also in Amphoe Sukhirin, Narathiwat.

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There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
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