Located: in the northern of Laos
Total area: 15,370 square kilometers
07 Districts: Xay, La, Namor, Nga, Beng, Hoon & Pakbeng
Capital of the province: Xay
Tranquil, beautiful and sometimes hidden in the clouds, Oudomxay is located in the heart of northern Laos and is one of the most accessible of the far northern provinces. The rugged mountainous landscape has peaks up to 1,850 meters covered in varying forest types and wider fields. The province’s three main rivers are Nam Ou, Nam Beng and Nam Tha. Oudomxay is mainly populated by the Khmu, Hmong and lowland Lao, with a total of 23 ethnic minorities, each with their own languages, cultural heritage and lifestyles.
In Muang Xay, the provincial capital, visit the Chinese market next to the Kaysone monument to see a variety of local products from Oudomxay as well as imported Chinese goods. Take a walk outside of town to see That Phouxaya a top the mountain overlooking Xay for a birds-eye view of the surrounding valley.
The countryside around Xay has several beautiful natural features to visit, including Tad Lak Sip-et (kilometer 11 waterfall) set in a stunning limestone environment, and the peaceful Nam Kat Waterfall. Chom Ong Cave is situated 45 kilometers from Oudomxay near the Khmu village of Chom Ongthai. Entering the cave you can follow the spring of the Nam Kaeng River for 1,600 meters passing through large halls with heights of up to 35 meters and widths of 20 meters. Visit the therapeutic baw nam hawn (hot springs) on the road to Phongsaly in Muang La to soothe aching muscles, or the Singkham Buddha Cave that was used to safeguard historical during the war. Ban Na Xieng Di has some interesting archaeological sites believed to date back about 500 years. Another unique site is the Buddha footprint or phabath found in Bang Nong Nha.
Pakbeng, located at the confluence of the Beng and Mekong Rivers is set on a scenic curve of the Mekong shrouded in green mountains. Explore Pha Ho-Pha Hong Cave in Beng District, or experience the shared Lao and Chinese heritage at Ban Theio or Ban Nam Xeng. Visitors can spend time in La District trekking to minority villages in remote and picturesque locations. If you are in Oudomxay during December inquire about the dates of the annual Hmong and Khmu new years celebrations, colorful festivals that include music, trade fairs and lots of local food and drink.
Oudomxay Province is famous as one of the places where ancient bronze drums were cast, which have been a symbol of status and wealth for centuries. Master drum makers continue to make these beautiful drums and purchasing a new drum supports this disappearing cultural heritage. Ban Bo village is well known for skilled handicraft production, especially rattan and bamboo basket weaving. Other quality local handicrafts include cotton weavings and shoulder-bag production, salt making, mulberry paper and silk products.