- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
- Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
- Sustainable Tourism
- Off the beaten track
My trip to Muang Sing is one of my favourite memories of my trip to Laos. I came to this remote region of Laos to go trekking in the surrounding countryside and meet local ethnic minorities.
A very few agencies offer an excursion for $100 per person. Luckily I've tested it for you and I have a much more economical alternative. While I was asking for information I remembered the names of the villages they mentioned and then I rented a bike for $1. Say "thank you".
The next day I made a detour to the village's really authentic market. About a dozen different ethnic groups sell their products there every morning. The market is very colourful and paradise for photographers. Apparently there is opium for sale on some stalls. I didn't see any, but be careful. There are police even in these remote areas and Laotian jails are not known for their comfort. As to the cycle ride, in one word "marvellous"! I cycled down little paths between fields, and crossed pretty rivers in the middle of enchanting scenery. I was warmly welcomed in the villages. I cycled part of the way with two monks, a fisherman invited me to eat with his family, I warbled in a classroom and I danced the night away at a wedding! I had an unforgettable stay in Muang Sing.
I stayed a Luang Namtha with a travel buddy and we hired a motorbike for the day so that we could head to Muang Sing, a village in the north of the country by the Chinese border. We had a great day even though the road was a perilous trail of potholes and bumps...
We zigzagged our way along mountain roads, stopping by a river and in villages along the Muang Sing road... The locals were curious and welcoming, albeit wary. The Chinese mountains that border the Laotian plains are stunning, , even though the border is guarded by Kalachnikov bearing officials.
It took us a while to find somewhere to eat in Muang Sing. It's a deserted place and the locals were wary and unsmiling. 45km between Luang Namtha and Muang Sing - but it took 3 hours to get there...
The plus side: stopping along the road to admire the landscape and meeting residents of local villages
The downside: the town's not welcoming; don't bother staying over.