Sayabouly – Attractive and Authentic Land of Elephants in Laos
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Sayabouly is an interesting province of Laos which comes in various names. People might refer to this destination as Sainyabuli, Xayaboury, or Sayabouri. Any of those names you use, some experienced tourists can first pinpoint that it means the site. More and more individuals travel to the northwest of Laos to see Sayabouly. Let’s discover Sayabouly region with Indochina Tour Laos

About Sayabouly in Laos

Sayabouly is a province in the northwestern Laos. It shares borders with Bokeo Province and Oudomxai Province to the north, Luang Prabang and Vientiane to the east, and Thailand to the west. It is a mountainous province with some peaks whose altitudes are over 1,000m. Especially, Sayabouly is the single Laos destination which is completely on the west of the Mekong River. With the pristine natural settings, this province covers the biggest attention on elephant communities in Laos. It offers the friendly environment for the big animals to survive well. Also, Sayabouly is regarded as the rice baskets of the northern Laos. It is because the other provinces are too mountainous to plant rice while Sayabouly luckily has some parts for rice fields. Though this province is not as famous as any other counterpart, there must be something interesting in Sayabouly which draws the travelers’ interest.

What to See in Sayabouly

Elephant Conservation Center

As noted, Sayabouly has a concentration of elephants in Laos. Therefore, it is the world for you to step into the authentic land of elephants. Look for the Center in the middle of the beautiful landscapes of Sayabouly to hide away from the bustle! Here, you can play with the giant companions and stay friendly to nature indeed. In particular, the relaxing moments at Nam Tien Protected Area is worthwhile. Also, it is your opportunities to try out elephant trekking, elephant riding, training, taking canoes to the reservoir, etc. The area includes an observation tower for you to view the whole green sections. There is also the little museum which teaches you about the Asia’s most iconic creature.

Wat Simungkhum

The province owns several extraordinary monasteries, and Wat Simungkhum is a site to see. The landmark has the original pavilion and stone platform over a little hole. It looks exceptional with the lopsided gilded stupa which first attracts the eyes. Then, you roam around the Wat and can do homage to the reclining Buddha statue, show respects, and pray for the best. Going outside of the Wat, it’s easy to notice the spacious garden which is fresh enough to calm the mind. There exist some brick ruins scattered throughout this religious venue. A short visit lets you feel peaceful and healthy to be ready for the exciting journey.

Wat Ban Khon

The ethnic Tai Lue holds the significant role in this town, and their religious belief influences some of the local temples. In particular, Wat Ban Khon in the old Tai Lue style, with the exceptional natural fiber murals and adornment. The temple is decorated in a way which attracts the newcomers to say “Special.” Just stop by this nice religious venue if you want to learn about the Tai Lue ethnic group.

Wat Siphandon

This is the unique stupa in a shape of the diamond. Wat Siphandon is the special landmark that you should not miss in the town. While the Wat looks interesting from afar as the diamond-shape temple, its interior is filled with the sacred Buddha images and various antique objects. Just like any other spiritual trip, you can feel released while doing homage here.

Paklay Town

The charming town is located on the Mekong River bank, just between Sayabouly and Vientiane. It is most recognizable for the antique French colonial structures which exist harmoniously with the traditional Laotian wooden houses. The architecture mixture here offers the fantastic and photogenic settings for photography throughout the year. The whole town looks attractive from a distance, and the experience becomes most memorable once you come to touch some of the preferred French-colonial buildings or the Laos-style houses. If wanted, ask if you can enter to explore the interior and see how special each architecture is expressed. People in the town always welcome you with big smiles.

Tad Ham Waterfall

Tad Ham is the outstanding waterfall in Sayabouly. When you see the water flows over the edge of the 15m-high cliff in the mountain, and falls into a pool beneath, you might say “Terrific!” This waterfall is set in the untouched jungle which is home to a wide array of animals. Trekking through the forest to the waterfall is the popular activity for the young, intrepid climbers. The trip should be accompanied by a tour guide.

The Asian Elephant in Laos, took in the Elephant Conservation Center in Sayaboury

How to Get to Sayabouly

By Air

The province is served by Sayabouly Airport, which makes the travel to this destination easier and faster than ever. There are daily flights to Sayabouly from Vientiane. Provided that you depart from Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, take it easy to use the aviation services of Lao Air or Lao Airlines to arrive at Sayabouly Airport. You need to check out the departure times and prices to pick up the most suitable option.

By Road

The overland travel to Sayabouly is best supported by bus service. There are buses from Vientiane or Luang Prabang to this destination. You might need to decide whether you like to use the local bus or the express/VIP bus. For instance, the Luang Prabang – Sayabouly local bus has the departure time of 09:00 AM and 02:00 PM and the usual cost is 60,000 kip. Also, it’s feasible to get there by car, motorbike, or taxi. The road condition is good enough for a scenic trip. In the case of entering Sayabouly through the international border checkpoints, they include Nam Ngeun Laos – Houay Kone Thailand and Namheuang Laos – Thaly Thailand.

River trip on the Mekong Sun in North Laos

When to Visit Sayabouly

The idea of the best time to visit Sayabouly might vary due to different travelers’ interest. You might say April is the most exciting month to get there since it celebrates the Pi Mao Lao (New Year Festival) while the others prefer the Elephant Festival in February, for instance. But in general, here is an attempt to divide the local monsoon weather into two separate seasons:

  • May – October: These months belong to the rainy season in Sayabouly. The rain helps nature and wildlife in this area become lush and green, but it influences the access to some distant attractions. And, no one wants their trips to be interrupted by the rain. Anyhow, if you check out the weather forecast carefully before going out, and come equipped with the necessary tools, then the rain cannot affect you much. In particular, May and June are the fantastic months to celebrate Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival) in the area, while October witnesses the events of Boat Racing Festival and Boun Ok Phansa (End of Buddhist Lent).
  • November – April: These months are put in the dry season in Sayabouly. While the daytime is quite hot, the night becomes slightly chilly. Such weather condition makes this northwestern province sounds appealing to some experienced tourists. Besides, know that the large-scale Elephant Festival takes place here in February! It is the honorable event that Sayabouly has and welcomes participants. Later, the Phavet Festival (Spiritual Ghost Festival) occurs from February to March while the significant Pi Mai Lao is celebrated in April.

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