Located: in the northern of the Laos.
Total area: 16,270 square kilometers.
07 Districts: Phongsaly, May, Khua, Samphanh, Boon-Neua, Boon-Tai and Gnot-Ou.
Phongsaly Province is one of the romotest of the Lao PDR Provinces, and is dominated by rugged, mountainous terrain and an abundance of thick forests and fast-flowing rivers. It is inhabited by 25 different ethnic groups, each with their own culture, traditions, costumes, and languages. Most of the land is between 500 and 1,500 metres elevation, which moderates the heat of the surrounding areas of Southeast Asia and makes the climate more suitable for trekking and other physical activities. The forests contain an abundance of animal, bird, insect and plant life, and there are certainly many undiscovered species, new to science.
The population with 13 minority ethnic groups: Khammu, Tai Dam, Thai daeng, Yao, Leu, Hor, Hmong, Akha, Yang, Bid, Lolo and others. Each minority ethnic group has their own identity, language and culture such as wedding ceremonies, handicrafts, silver wares and jewelry.
Boun Neua and Boun Tai are thriving little market towns, and now do a lot of trade with nearby Yunnan Province, China. Mouang Khoa is a small river port on the picturesque Nam Ou River. Phongsaly town is more hill station with cooler climate and centre for trekking to the surrounding areas. All of these small towns have guesthouses and small hotels which welcome both international and local visitors.
Where to Visit
Phoudandin : The large and very remote Phou Den Din NBCA is accessible most easily by small boat up the Nam Ou river. The trip only for most adventurous: You must be well prepared, and take food, light camping equipement and a guide which can be arranged from Phongsaly Town. You are in the remotest part of Southeast Asia in the most undisturbed areas of forest.
The Nam Lan Conservation Area (NLCA) : covers 22,000 ha of mostly densely forested, very steep terrain, at between 600 metres and 1,850 metres elevation. Picturesque villages, mostly growing lowland irrigated paddy flank part of the northern and eastern boundaries of the area. Ecotourism lodges are being set up in five of these villages. The attractive little town of Boun Tai is a good base for visiting the NLCA.
Phongsaly Town : Nestling under the thickly forested Phoufa Hill, Phongsaly at 1,400 metres elevation has developed around an old market centre with cobbled streets and picturesque wooden buildings, including a very old Chinese quarter. Climb the jeep track up the Phoufa Hill (1,650 metres) and enjoy a spectacular view over the town and the surrounding mountainous terrain. The high ridge line which forms the horizon to the west is a Jurassic escarpment-the geology of the Province is a full cross-section of the age of the dinosaurs. Look for plant fossile (and dinosaurs!) just below the summit of the Phoufa.
Phongsaly is good base for trekking : easy trekking along the ridge lines to the Northeast and Southeast, or more vigourous treks along the Jurassic escarpment (about 30 km to the west of Phongsaly on the Boun Neua road), or along the foot of the escarpment (km 37, take off to the south through forest and paddy fields on the new Nam Boun Kao trail).