Separated from Thailand by the unyielding Mekong, Huay Xai serves as a border crossing and jumping-off point for epic river cruises. For many visitors, the capital of jungle-covered Bokeo province is their first taste of slow-paced Laos life, where most evenings are spent enjoying riverside beers and fish with sticky rice. Don a traditional sarong and steam yourself with an infusion of herbs at the Lao Red Cross Sauna, a popular evening activity for locals, then let a masseuse smooth away your aches and pains.
If you’re not hopping straight on a Mekong cruise to Luang Prabang, Huay Xai is a great place to soak up Laos’s enviable nature. Set in the heart of the Golden Triangle, the town is backed by forested hills home to waterfalls and rare black-cheeked gibbons. In the mornings, vendors from surrounding villages come to sell handicrafts at the market, while monks chant from Chom Khao Manilat temple, which lies on a hilltop near former French military barracks.
Talk to our Laos specialists to arrange a border crossing from Thailand to Huay Xai or a scenic cruise down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang.