Oudomxay in the northwest of Laos has a provincial capital calledMuang Xai. It is a mountainous province with borders into China and some peaks as high as 1,800 metres. It is a mineral rich province with deposits of salt, bronze, zinc, antimony, brown coal, kaolin and iron. Villagers grow rice, corn, soybeans, fruits, vegetables, sugarcane, tobacco and tea. Corn and sugarcane are probably the most important revenue crops. The province has some tradition religions as well as Buddhism.
There are around 60 rivers including the Nam Kur that flows through Muang Xai.There are lush forests and the Province earns revenue from its bamboo, orchids, teak and mahogany though development is hindered by the difficulty of moving produce around the region. Tourism has been seen as an opportunity to improve the economy and numbers are increasing. Hopefully Laos tour packages will help with its promotion.
How to get there
The Province is not the most accessible in Laos but the only road heading north from Luang Prabang comes through Oudomxay.
Best time to visit
There is a moderate monsoon climate but arguably the feature that stands out is the temperature variation. Towards the end of the dry season in February and March the average is below 20C rising to over 30C as the rains start. Altitude plays a role in the climate with the dry season generally colder than other parts of Laos.
Things to see and do
Oudomxay is noted for its birds including terns, lapwings, cormorants and swan geese.
Those who enjoy trekking are not put off by an underdeveloped infrastructure so the number of tourists after adventure on a holiday in Laos is expected to increase.
Muang La is a very important Buddhist site for Theravada Buddhists. TheSaymoungkhoune Rattana Stupa, 400 years old has a revered image of Buddha.
Chom Ong Cave is the longest in Country and is found in Ban Chom Ong northwest of Oudomxay town. Its length is an incredible 18.4 km and has two passages which connect in a huge hall. It was used for shelter during the Indochina War.
The Baci festivalpredates Buddhism; it remains very important for the ethnic tribes in the Province and indeed is now celebrated elsewhere in Laos and even across in Thailand.
There are now a few hotels and over 50 guesthouses in the province, mostly located in the Capital, Muang Xay. The Laos travel guide recommends a visit and Laos travel packages can be tailored to do so.