Sunday, May 6, 2012
One of their highlights is Lao-style barbecue, a tasty do-it-yourself menu with meats and veggies grilled and stewed by the customers themselves with combinations like Japanese Shabu-Shabu and Korean BBQ. Most of the guesthouses also have menus at reasonable prices.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Situated in the heart of the golden triangle, Bokeo is just over the border from Chiang Rai province in Thailand and also borders Myanmar while China is less than 100 kilometres away. Although Bokeo is the smallest province in Laos, it harbours a large number of interesting minority groups (approximate 30 ethnicities). The province split off from Luang Nam Tha and was created in 1983. The name Bokeo translates as 'gem mine'; the city is known as the land of sapphires. Panning for gold, and digging for precious stones is a major occupation here.
Huay Xai, the capital provincial of Bokeo, sits on the bank of the Mekong River. Like most minor cities in Laos, several temples built in earlier centuries and surrounding villages seem to be the only attractions. However, Bokeo's real economic strength is tourism. A holiday among a network of hunts and shelters built on top of trees in primary monsoon dry deciduous forest is a decidedly appealing one. A perfect spot where one can observe the forest's rare habitants from above. Besides fascinating attractions and delightful activities, Houay Xai is also known as the gateway to explore the rest of Laos A famous stopover spot for most arrivals before boarding a boat and heading southeast to Pak Beng and Luang Prabang. A trip up north on Bokeo's winding and bumpy roads will lead to Luang Namtha and beyond.
Over the centuries, Bokeo has remained an important stopover for Chinese traders traveling by boats between China and Thailand. Nowadays, the only connection between Bokeo and Chiang Rai is via ferry and speedboat. However, a bridge between Laos and Thailand is scheduled to open in 2012.
The fact is that most visitors to Laos treat Huay Xai as a stopover to other destinations. This is quite unfortunate since there is a lot to experience in this small town in terms of local life in Laos and it’s worth it to try some local beer, relax on the banks of Mekong or simply interact with fellow tourists here.
If you are visiting Huay Xai for the first time here is a list of places you may want to visit to make your trip worthwhile:
Ban Khao Pun
A lot of villagers work in the production of rice vermicelli, also
known as ‘kanom jeen’ as a means of earning their living. Locals eat a
dish made with this kanom jeen mixed with phla raa, which is fermented
fish sauce. This recipe, when made in Ban Khao Pun, is exported to
Chiang Kong, across the border in Thailand. Other than fish sauce, one
can try the kanom jeen dish with various types of sauces.
Ban Tom Lao
Ban Tom Lao is a village in Laos which is known for its rice fields
and various forms of alcohol that are prepared on it by the villagers.
The name of this village roughly translates as ‘brew comes’ which is
appropriate since locals prepare a genre of hooch which is legal in Lao,
but not permitted for consumption in most other countries. The alcohol
level of the various drinks is not always regular, since it depends on
the fermentation period. On average, it is at 40%.
Ban Yong Hin
Ban Yong Hin is a form of mobile home structure made of wood. Wooden stakes are placed on a stone to create this house. The Thai Lue people are known to build these kinds of structures and although they are known to be mobile homes, the reason for using stone as the base is to prevent destructive termite and moisture erosion in the wood.