Phongsaly is a province in the extreme north of Laos. The capital Phongsaly is between Yunnan in China and Dien Bien in Vietnam. Its proximity to China has been a major influence on its development. Over three quarters of the Province is forested with the highest peak, Phou Doychy at almost 1,850 metres. There was migration into Phongsaly from both Burma, now Myanmar at the end of the 18th Century and the Hmong from China a century later. The French controlled the region despite regular revolts with the Communists taking over in 1954.
Phongsaly is an influential trading centre with agriculture being the main activity of the villagers. The proximity to China and demand for timber has led to a degree of deforestation.
How to get there
This Laos travel guides tresses that this province has good north-south connections but otherwise access is not easy. It is a matter of patience; boat and bus.
Best time to visit
A holiday in Laos is a real experience. Monsoon season goes from May to October. Once the dry season comes in November it is easier to get around. The next few months are the more popular ones for Laos travel packages and indeed Indochina tour packages.
Things to see and do
Phou Dene Din National Biodiversity Conservation Area and Nam Lan Conservation Area are important environmental sites with plenty of fauna and no people.Blyth's kingfisher,brown dipper, brown and great hornbill, crested kingfisher and fish eagle are part of an impressive list of birds. Elephant and monkeys will be seen; tigers certainly less likely.
There are a few important landmarks in Phonsaly:
• Wat Ou-Tai Temple in Ban Ou-Tai is 500 years old and within the site thee is a monastery with many Buddha images. Much of the original decoration remains while there are wooden columns in the shrine, painted and carved with various images..
• Wat Luang Ou-Neua Temple is a similar age and is located in Ban Ou Neua. It is a good example of Lue architecture and contains one large Buddha and several smaller ones.
• That Phou Xay Stupasits on the summit of a hill with 400 steps in the ascent.
Laos tour packages include all accommodation arrangements. The choice within Phongsaly is mostly guesthouses though there are a few hotels as well.
Phongsali has a relatively cool climate. Weather has been described as “four seasons in one day”; mornings and evenings are cold, it is humid during the day with afternoon rain.