This dreamy rustic province lies on the extreme north of Laos, circled by thousand meters of mountains, which are the bodyguards that certainly keep the place in silence and peace. With a particular position when it shares the boundary with China, Phongsali influences the northern country’s culture pretty much.
No need to travel to China to see those cottages with clapboards on top and time-honored engineering, stupas, Phongsali can bring the perfect images of old time, just exactly the same. What complete this picturesque site is its plain daily life of over 28 ethics, and because of the region’s remote location, those hustle bustle from the city can barely reach. For this reason, your trip visiting Phongsali would be fresh, clean and relaxing.
2. BEST TIME TO VISIT PHONGSALI
Start from May to October, the rain will take place throughout the region. July to September would rain the most. Hence, you should bring along an umbrella but you better avoid the season, you don’t want your journey is interrupted, do you?
From November to April, this time is considered to be the dry season. Not to mention, from March to April, the temperature can reach to its highest rate: about 30°C. Due to the mountainous topography and fresh rural atmosphere, the weather in Phongsali is manageable around the year. Even in its hottest point, the weather can be really eased.
In short, if anyone wants to enjoy the trip to Phongsali, this period of time would be the best.
3. THINGS TO DO IN PHONGSALI
Climb Mount Phou Fa
Whoever went to Phongsali, they would never forget the astounding charming site of its symbol: mount Phou Fa. What a wonderful place to take bunch of spectacular photos when sunrise and sunset from the peak of the mountain.
Besides, you can also catch a view of mystery villages and stupas that hide behind the densely mist. Not from the top of mount Phou Fa that you can enjoy, the 4000 stair steps journey is also a memorable experience as well. Those are what tourists urging for.
Explore the Ancient Temples
Not only archeologist that are totally attracted by the time - honored temple of Phongsali but even normal travelers as well. There are many stupas, temples that were established for hundred years and still in rather good condition. In particular, one of the worth visiting temples would be Way Ou-Tai, which is in Ban Ou - Tai village and believed to be over 500 years old. It had reversed its building structure and was made by mud and brick.
Other than that, you can visit the Wat Luang Ou - Neua stupas, which is near Gnot - Ou district. The remarkable Buddhist monastery Tai Lue style is said to be built in 1445. The Phou Xay on the hill is also gorgeous, it costs 400 stair steps to be in the place.
Trekking in Interested
Phongsali is a famous destination for trekking. It provides fresh air and a lovely country view. First, you will roll yourself in the plain town, then you take the dusty track, it will take you to most remote and outskirts of the province, where you can observe people doing agriculture on small yard of paddy field, locals live in lovely leaf cottages, kids running and playing in the cool river.
You also have the opportunity to meet the villages of ethnic tribes, such as the Tai, Phou Noy, Akha, Lue, Ho. Each tribe owns a unique cultural aspects, costumes, traditional handicrafts and their custom.
Learn about Ethnic Culture at the Local Museum
In the central town, the museum of ethnic stirs tourist curiosity up. A ticket for encountering diverse ethnic culture is a low price to pay. The museum riches in ethnic culture, costumes, languages, local landmarks. Some tribe’s culture is displayed are mostly from Khmu, Tai Lue, Akha, Hor. In each tribe, they provide different styles of handicrafts, textile, artifacts, but they have a thing in common, which is the beauty. Hours of interestingness are ready to take.
Gather Tea Leaf
People know most about the city is its high quality of green tea produced. It is pretty far from the city center, there’s a small village called Ban Komean, where owns the over 400 - year old tea plantation. Pay a visit to this rural area, you definitely lost in romantic, authentic tea jungles and beautiful rural life.
Thing is going to turn from best to excellent when you join the locals harvesting tea leaf. Moreover, they also allow you to take part in the complicated tea making progress, from gathering tea leaves to drying, roasting stages by hands. After making green tea, you are able to taste Phongsali special.
4. THINGS TO BUY IN PHONGSALI
Since the place has strong point of fantastic nature site, there isn’t much thing to buy. But if you fancy on gifts, there are several handicrafts that available in the city. You can buy something for souvenir like fabric with typical ethnic tartans, wooden statues, necklaces and bracelets, small baskets, wallets, etc.
Don’t forget to buy a package of Phongsali green tea. Thanks to its rich mineral soil, tea plants can have the best condition to produce a unique taste that made Phongsali be famous for.
5. DOS & DON'TS
Locals or ethnic here is harmless and rather hospitable, they welcome tourists and treat them in a friendly way. The only principle here is your paying back friendly behavior.
- You can say “Sa - Bai-Dee” to them to say hello and smile to them.
- Ask them first before you take a photo of them.
- Respect the monks and follow the rituals in temples.
- Wear proper clothes to show your politeness.