Huay Xai

About Huay Xai

Huay Xai - a small town on the banks of the Mekong River in the upper part of Laos in the province of Bo Keo, a famous border gate for tourists every time traveling from Laos to Thailand or vice versa. Huay Xai is opposite Chiang Khong province, Thailand, and is the northernmost border of Laos and Thailand with a ferry connecting them.

Tourists stopping at this place are more and more crowded, making the town become bustling and bustling but still in a very Lao style! This is the ideal destination for active people who like hiking, kayaking, and biking or even those who love to try some local beer, relax on the banks of the Mekong, and enjoy authentic Lao cuisine. You can find the famous tropical fruits of the Mekong area like Mac Ca, Mango, Orange, tangerine...

Best time to visit Huay Xai

The ideal time to travel to Huay Xai is April to June and November to December when the weather is the most comfortable without high humidity and it’s very suitable for active activities outdoor. Thus, it makes sense that these months are considered as peak tourist season to visit the area.

In case you do not set any other times, you should avoid visiting Huay Xay from July to October as it’s the rainy season. As these months are during the rainy season with July believed as the wettest month, you can consider visiting Huay Xai during this time as well.

Things to see and do in Huay Xai

1. The Gibbon Experience

If you are seeking one of the truly unique experiences, then Gibbon Experience in the northern town of Huay Xai. Staying in the tallest houses in the world at the Gibbon Experience resort is an extremely special travel moment that you won't find anywhere else in the world. The treehouse was founded by Jef Reumaux in 1996 and opened in 2004. By partnering with the local government, the Gibbon Experience project area, covering 136,000 hectares of forest, was officially designated a national park by the Lao National Assembly in 2008.

8 treehouses in the Gibbon Experience resort in Laos have an altitude of 30-40 m. The only way to lower your legs in these houses is to have to slide through the zipline. The world's tallest treehouses in Laos are part of a project to preserve tourism, against illegal logging that was launched in the late 1990s.

The Gibbon Experience, Laos

All treehouses are made of wood from those who cut down the forest. It has been equipped with an electric light grid, bed covered with mosquito net and has a few other essential items. Each treehouse bathroom is open-plan and has a freshwater shower. Laotian-inspired meals are cooked in a neighboring village and delivered by staff to guests who are staying at home in the tree via the zipline, along with fresh fruit and specialty local snacks.

2. Ban Nam Chan Lanten village

Ban Nam Chan is the Lantern ethnic village in Bokeo province which is 16 kilometers away from town. This handicraft group was established by Fair Trade Laos and the village to accept visitors to walk around and explore freely. Visit the village to learn about one of the traditional handicrafts, experience the local life and the unique craft of making lanterns of the ethnic group in Laos and you can also buy the handmade lantern here. Besides, you can have an opportunity to see how bamboo paper is made.

3. Wat Chom Khao Manirat

The Wat Chom Khao Manirat is a totally wood temple built in the 19th century with vibrant colors that looked like Jakarta's religious sites and structures. There is a beerhouse donated by former Prince Chaing Kong in this temple. The Chom Khao Milat Temple is well-known as the ideals site to watch the twilight on the Mekong River.

4. Fort Carnot

Fort Carnot

The Fort Carnot is a French military structure dating back to the 1900s. After the independence of Laos in 1945, the fortress was used as a residence by the Royal Lao Army. This place preserves almost the original version of the colonial military building in Laos, however, the structure is in ruins and the walls are covered with trees. Fort Carnot has not many things to visit but you can capture the panorama view of the whole town and river from the top of the hill there.

How to get to Huay Xai

1. By Plane

Huay Xai has an airport which is located 5 kilometers from town. Lao Airlines operates limited flights to/from Vientiane with 3 flights per week.

2. By Car

It takes 3.5 hours to transfer to Huay Xai from Luang Nam Tha. However, the overland transfers from Luang Prabang or Vientiane to Huay Xai are much further.

To Huay Xai from Luang Prabang, the transfer takes 12 hours. And it is almost 12 hours more if you depart from Vientiane. Due to such a long transfer without buildings and lights along the way, traveling by car is not recommended.

3. By Boat

The most popular transit route to and from Huay Xai is by public slow boat down the Mekong. The slow boat pier is a kilometer upriver from town.

You can have a gorgeous journey when boarding on Luangsay Cruise which offers the deluxe quality of service: two days on a comfortable boat, a night at the luxurious Luangsay Lodge, all meals, stops at a few sights including Pak Ou Caves, border transfers and an English-speaking guide.

A little bit lower cruise company for the midmarket is Shompoo Cruise - slow boats have lounge-style seating and they cap it at a maximum of 40 passengers. The service includes transfers, lunches, a local guide, and stops at some tourist sites. It excluded accommodation though you have the option of adding it in.

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