Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Huay Xai is the capital of Bokeo, a province in Laos. It borders with Thailand and is also known as Houay Xai or Houeo Sai. Huay Xai is popular amongst backpackers as a stopover to other destinations.
This place attracts many visitors who want to experience the locals and their lifestyles. Also, you should try local beer and relax on the banks of Mekong in Huay Xai. Although Huay Xai is ussually considered as a stopover, there are some destinations to visit here.
Ban Khao Pun
Ban Khao Pun is a traditional village producing rice vermicelli. It is known as ‘kanomjeen’ as a means of earning their living. Locals’ meals often include kanomjeen mixed with phlaraa, which is fermented fish sauce. Also, ‘kanomjeen’ is exported to Chiang Kong in Thailand.
Ban Tom Lao
The name of the village literally means ‘Brew-comes’. The villagers mainly earn their living by produce a variety of forms of alcohol. Lao tom, a form of hooch which is only legal in Lao, but not permitted for consumption in most other countries. The alcohol level of the various drinks is generally more than 40 degrees depending on the fermentation period.
Ban Yong Hin
Thai Lue Tribe Village features a unique attraction: mobile wooden houses. These kinds of structures on top of the stone were constructed by Thai Lue people to prevent them from termites and moisture erosion in the wood.
This French-style structure is used by Lao troops. Located on top of a hill, from the fort visitors can be seen clearly from the other side of the Mekong River. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed inside the premises.
Jom Khao Manilat Temple
The Jom Khao Manilat Temple is designed in the Shan style and was made wholly of teak. It was built in 1880 and with spectacular painting in bright colours, similar those sacred places in Jakarta making it a must-visit for visitors. In 1458, a stele-house to the temple was built by Chaing Kong prince. One can take in the views of the town of Huay Xai and overlook the Mekong River from the top of this temple. The temple is just a few minutes’ walk from the ferry pier.
Huay Xai Shopping
There are some local markets such as Talat Sao, Muang Bokeo market. They are good places to shop local products including items of art, souvenirs or gifts at cheap prices. They also sell fresh food and some main household products. Huay Xai is also a major fishing ground for the phla beuk, or giant catfish – the biggest freshwater fish in the world. Tourists can find fresh seafood with the best quality in here.
Huay Xai Restaurants
A variety dishes mixed of Lao, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese dishes with a range of seafood are served in restaurants in Huay Xai. The menu includes Thai and Lao cuisines are prepared such as fried prawn cakes, curries and tom yam soup. The Thai serves as a casual distraction to suitable with visitors’ taste. Muang Neuri restaurant is highly recommended. You should try the crispy fried fish prepared with lots of garlic and ginger or the seafood-filled broth made with lemongrass and spices at this modest little restaurant with reasonable price about US$1.50-$3. It is also the perfect bar to have some lao-lao liquor.
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