The Hua Phan region, bordering Vietnam, is one of the remotest areas of Laos. The roads leading there are long and windy (but paved) as you ascend into the mountains. It is one of the most ethnically diverse provinces in Laos.
- Phonsavan - daily buses. 8 hours.
- Luang Prabang - two daily buses: one departing around 08:30 and one in the evening. 130,000 kip. 15 hours. The bus stops in Nong Khiaw and passes through Vieng Thong.
- Vietnam - via the Nam Soi-Na Meo border crossing. Laos visa on arrival available.
- From Vientiane by Lao Air. .
- There are many tuk-tuks around. You will need to take one to get to the bus stations.
- There are two bus stations just outside of Sam Neua: one intra-provincial for Vieng Xai and other nearby destinations and one inter-provincial (for Luang Prabang, Phonsavan, Vietnam, etc).
- Former Pathet Lao Caves near Vieng Xai.
- Namnoua waterfall just off the raod between Sam Neua and Vieng Xai.
- Hintang Archaeological Park.
- Local handicrafts: at specialist local shops or the market. Beware of cheap Chinese and Vietnamese goods at the market though.
- There are ATMs and banks that advertise currency exchange.
- There are several restaurants around the main guest house area near the river.
- Cheap pho can be found at the market (across the river).
- Fresh produce can be purchased at the market.
- The streets are generally empty by 21:00, but you might be able to find a place that sells Beer Lao.
Most guest houses are congregated in a couple of blocks between the main road and the southernmost bridge. There are also guest houses and hotels along the main road and on the other side of the river.
- Long Ma Guesthouse (near the bridge). Frequented by locals. 40,000 kip.
- Shuliy Guesthouse (near the bridge). En suite rooms. 60,000 kip.
There is a provincial Tourist Information Centre in the town, open Monday-Friday. firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 064-312567.
- Vieng Xai - hourly songthaews. You can either do a day trip to the caves or stay here.
- Vietnam - daily buses to Thanh Hoa (180,000 kip), or you can make your own way to/fro the Lao side of the border at Nam Soi. The bus to Thanh Hoa may continue to Hanoi.
- Luang Prabang - 12-15 hours by local bus - a long but scenic journey. The bus passes through Vieng Thong and Nong Khiaw if you want to stop there.
- Phonsavan - 8 hours.