Sayabouly Province in the northwest of Laos borders with Thailand on the west. It is a mountainous provincethat offers a wonderful natural environment for those on holiday in Laos. Even though it is mountainous the local people still manage to produce rice, cotton, sugarcane and beans with elephants the main way their goods are transported.
They are well treated; in Hongsa they are actually regarded as sacred and visitors on Laos travel packages will be able to get really close up at the festival held in February. One of Laos’ nicknames is the “Land of a Million Elephants.”
How to get there
The road is surprisingly good when you consider the overall condition of Laos roads. The highway connects Sayabouly to Luang Prabang in the north and Thailand in the south. Those on Indochina tour packages may make several border crossings during their holiday though those flying into Laos direct will arrive in Vientiane before onward travel.
Buses connect Sayabouly with other parts of the country while those on Laos private tours have everything arranged for them.
Best time to visit
The monsoon season is May to October before a drier and cooler season follows. Temperatures rise in March and April before the rains return. The rains are rarely persistent and there is no real reason not to visit during the monsoons.
Things to see and do
There is a monument in the town but the real reason to visit Sayabouly is the natural environment which attracts many who just enjoy being out in the wilds.
There are a number of Festivals including New Year, the Boat Racing Festival and the Spiritual Ghost Festival but the highlight is certainly that Elephant Festival in February. It is towards the end of the dry season and before temperatures begin to rise; an ideal time for a visit.
One of the great delights of adventure travelling is learning about the local culture and there are a few tribes locally that visitors will enjoy meeting; the Lue, Yuan, Iu Mien, Phrai or the Hmong for example. Each is naturally hospitable.
Talking of adventure you can trek, travel by boat and of course on an elephant. Independent travellers may rent a motor bike to help them explore.
Ban Viengkeo, a Lue village is famous for its weaving traditions. Watch and learn then of course buy a souvenir. There is also local pottery produced and tourists are able to watch the skill of the local people.
There are some fascinating caves to explore while the fauna is excellent although the chances of seeing a tiger are remote. Birdlife is good throughout the whole of the country.
The highest peak incidentally is above 2,200 metres.
Accommodation is limited; a few guesthouse and hotels. Those on organised Laos tour packages will have all their arrangements made for them of course.
Our Laos travel guide s an introduction to this fascinating country that is slowly becoming more and more popular with those wishing to enjoy a holiday in Indochina.