Ban Huay Xai in Laos (also named Ban Houayxay, Ban Huoeisay, or Ban Houei Sai) is the provincial capital of Bokeo Province, set on the border between Laos and Thailand. Lying on the mighty Mekong River facing Chiang Khong of Thailand, this town has the fascinating view of a river. If feeling interested in the Laos’s rustic charm, just visit Ban Huay Xai.
About Ban Huay Xai in Laos
The provincial capital of Bokeo, Ban Huay Xai is the favorite stopover to other fascinating destinations in Laos. It is the northern getaway to Laos and lies on the Mekong River, opposite Chiang Khong in Thailand. This town is notable for the Laos’ traditional lifestyle, the local beer, and the relaxation on the banks of Mekong River. Traveling to Ban Huay Xai, people can expect to meet lots of other fellow tourists who might either take Ban Huay Xai as the pretty shelter or consider it the ideal stopover to take a rest. Interacting with both the fellow travelers and the local people give you the nice memories about the capital of Bokeo. One of the highlights of Ban Huay Xai is the Fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge that came into operation in December 2013; it was the great alternative to the ferry across the river. The Bridge today is the northernmost border to across between Laos and Thailand. Besides, this provincial capital of the domestic airport with regular flights to Vientiane and Luang Prabang. But, note that few travel agencies in Laos who operate tours packages to Ban Huay Xai and the most popular transportation here is the boat (including slow boat, freighter, and luxury cruises). Regarding the extraordinary attractions in Ban Huay Xai Laos, they include Ban Nam Chan Lanten Village, Wat Chom Khao Manirat, Fort Carnot, and Nam Nyon Waterfall.
Remarkable Activities and Attractions in Ban Huay Xai
Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slow boat
If speedboat sounds too fast to enjoy, the road is too uncomfortable for the skeletal system to endure, and flights are too expensive, then the slow boat might be ideal. Sailing on the Mekong River, you reach Huay Xai in the slow pace, but memorable and relaxing. The journey via the slow boat should start from the early morning so that you can watch the fishing scenarios of the locals. Approaching the fishing boats slowly, you can even interact with the chummy fishermen who have the great focus on their daily practice. Normally, it takes 2-hour ride downriver from Huay Xai to Pak Tha. Along the boat journey, expect to view the green scenery of the forested mountains, the quiet jungle, the hidden villages, and group of the local people gathering along the riverbanks. While the adults are collecting seaweed or cooking, the children are laughing and helping their parents. It is the simple but very happy and warm scenery to capture – the authentic laid-back corner of Laos!
Ban Nam Chan Lanten Village
Ban Nam Chan is the unique Lanten ethnic village in Bokeo, which specializes in cotton weaving, embroidery, and natural dyes. Here, the visitors come to see the Lanten life and local custom. There are several handmade products for sales which are made from the natural materials; for example, the women’s traditional jackets are dyed by the dark indigo. Some of the complete Lanten are used for the significant religious ceremonies. The most interesting channel to get to Ban Nam Chan is hiring a tuk-tuk. If caring for the traditional Laos’ cotton weaving or natural dyes or embroidery, the short excursion at Ban Nam Cham is informative indeed.
This wat is erected at the summit of the scenic and small hill in the heart of Huay Xai. From the Wat, it is wonderful to view the mighty Mekong River even though it is interrupted by some green trees. Wat Cham Khao Manirat itself is very eye-catching in an antique and sacred design while the monks here are quite young. For chanting ceremony, it often starts at 18:00. Note that this Wat is also home to some monkeys! In the location of the Wat, you can also see the sign pointing to Fort Carnot – the antique French colonial military barracks.
French Fort Carnot in Ban Huay Xai
Fort Carnot was a military fort constructed by the French around 1900 when Laos was put in French Indochina. It was erected on the top of the hill in the French style. Then, in the year of 1954, the Royal Lao Army won the battle and occupied the fort as the accommodation. The Fort remains today and stands out as the best preserved colonial military construction in Laos. Contributing to the ancient look of the building are the age-old and shady trees, the antique walls and crumbling structure. In fact, people love to climb to the Fort to enjoy the stunning view of the pretty town and the powerful Mekong River. Sometimes, there are several haunted stories about the old ruin, which makes it more appealing to the thrill-seekers.
Nam Nyon Waterfall
If taking a speedboat from Huay Xai, then you arrive at Nam Nyon Waterfall in half an hour upriver. The similar amount of time to do if going on a tuk-tuk. Either route, expect to meet the rural scenery of Laos dotted with the simple villages, the lush greenness, the steep mountains, the friendly water, and the rustic locals. But in most cases, the boat journey is more interesting than the tuk-tuk one, and it is worth the higher prices! If wanted, you can stop by the preferred remote village to have a break before heading toward the destination of Nam Nyon Waterfall. The waterfall presents its best during the wet season with the rapid and powerful flows. Before reaching the captivating waterfall, you need to across some wooden suspension bridges and then come to the sightseeing point. Of course, it is the worthwhile view!
How to Get to Ban Huay Xai in Laos
The flights from Vientiane to Ban Huay Xai take place on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Thanks to these scheduled flights, the tourists today can first fly to Vientiane (the capital of Laos) from their home country, and then take another quick flight to Ban Huay Xai.
There are buses running from Luang Namtha Province to the town of Huay Xai. The bus ride might take around 5-6 hours. Once arriving at the town, what to do is hiring a tuk-tuk to come to the favorite hotels or guesthouses, and also discover what the town has for the new guests.
It is feasible to travel by ferry between the Chiang Khong of Thailand and Huay Xai of Laos. The ferry channel costs little, but the joy is much. The single requirement is that you should arrive there before 18:00 so that you can get the visa on arrival in the available office nearby the ferry stand. The ferry service is popularly used by both the passengers who appreciate the slow-paced sightseeing. From the ferry stand, take it easy to get a tuk-tuk to arrive at the town. Note that the ferry dock is full of passengers and boat owners most of the time; so, you will never feel bored. Then, it is your decision to take a tuk-tuk to the pretty town center or to use the slow boat to finish the upstream travel.
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