Huay Xai also known as Ban Houayxay, Huoeisay or Houei Sai is a calm and peaceful little town next to the Mekong River. Huay Xai is the capital of the Lao province of Bokeo located at the border to Thailand. The Thai town on the other riverside across from Ban Houayxay is calle Chiang Khong. The population of Huay Xai is around 18.000 people.
Nearby our Little Hostel
- The Gibbon Experience
Only a 5 second walk from Little Hostel ist the Gibbon Experience Office. The Gibbon Experience offers a unique stay in the jungle. You will spend your days hiking and exploring the Bokeo jungle, stay overnight in tree houses and cross the canopy by gliding on a cable. You have to book with them in advance to join their forest conservation project. Their tours start in the morning and you are welcome to stay at Little Hostel the night before.
- Morning Market
Following the mainroad to the south, you get to the suburbs of Ban Muangkeo. If you are an early bird and like markets you can rent a bicycle and visit this market early in the morning.
- The Mekong River
Rent a bicycle and cycle on the mainroad parallel to the Mekong River. You can find the slow-boat pier at 5minute cycling distance from Little Hostel and get a spectacular view over the river. The earlier you rise the better the view 🙂
- Buddhist Temple
Five minute walk from our Little Hostel are the stairs that lead up on top of the hill to a small Buddhist Temple. You are welcome to visit and enjoy the view from the Top, but please be properly dressed (shoulders to knies). Recommended to visit late in the afternoon or early morning.
Entering Laos for the first time it, you might find suggestions on how to go around Laos at the border. Laotians are kind and friendly people when you treat them with respect. You will notice a basic dresscode (shoulders to knies) when you spend enough time in Laos. Laotians will notice your dresscode. Being rude is rude – so don’t be so. When invited into a house, notice that you are expected to take off your shoes.
Huay Xai is home to Laotians and also Mon hilltribes.
Knowing some basic Lao vocabulary is part of being respectful. Laotians greet each other by saying Sabaidee. Thank you (very much) is: Khob djai (lai lai).
Staying in town for longer? Check out the following attractions:
About 20-30km is a beautiful waterfall, but it takes a while to get there. If you spend a day in Houayxai it is a recommended activity to rent a Motorbike and drive east to find the waterfall.
On top of the hill, dominating the Mekong, the French colonial-era Fort Carnot era has undergone some conservation work. One of the tower can be climbed, providing a good view on the Mekong. Though not spectacular at all, it’s a good way to start one’s travel in Laos and remember that the country has been a favourite playground of western powers for dec
Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone
The provincial economy is now dominated by the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GT SEZ). In 2007, the Chinese-owned Kings Romans Group entered into a 99-year lease for 10,000 hectares on the banks of the Mekong. The company was granted 3,000 of these hectares as a duty-free zone, now the SEZ. As gambling is illegal in China, and the SEZ is only a two-hour journey by road from China, casinos and hotels catering to a Chinese clientele were built. As an unintended consequence, a robust industry involving trafficking in endangered animals has grown up around the Chinese tourist trade. Several restaurants in the SEZ serve exotic meats: tiger, pangolin, bear cub and python. Menus openly include such fare as bear paw, monitor lizards, geckos, snakes and turtles. Tiger bone wine is also frequently served. Shops in the SEZ sell animal parts, stuffed animals and ivory, all in contravention of the CITES treaty to which Laos is a party. Has to be seen to be believed — and lamented.