Blogs from Sam Neua, East, Laos, Asia

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Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua January 24th 2019

We are up early to catch our bus to Sam Neua. The restaurants are closed so we grab a scrambled egg roll at the bakery and buy another two plus some cake for the journey. A tuk tuk arrives to take us through the cold morning air to the out-of-town bus station. Here, a weird man decides to rush up to hug Ian. It’s a bit of a shock but even worse when he tries kissing and licking him! He is surprisingly strong as we both try to pull him off. At first we thought he was attempting to pick his pocket, but actually it turns out to be an over friendly gesture by an unstable person. Our bags are stashed on a minibus roof and then we are handed a carrier bag and told to ... read more
Clouds below
In the mountains
Home farming

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua July 27th 2013

Another bus journey… This time we chose to go during the day though. The bus was supposed to leave at 8am from the Northern Station, but thanks to a guy working at the bus station in the centre we would be picked up from the centre instead! He said it was no problem at all, he would just divert the bus for us. Wow! How nice was that! As we were waiting for our bus I thought that maybe he forgot to do that after all as it was 9am and the bus was nowhere to be found yet (we were supposed to leave at 8am). But eventually it came a few minutes after – funny yellow minibus packed with locals and their stuff. At the beginning it looked like we might have to fight over ... read more
incredible limestone formations in Viengxai
local women going to the market in Sam Neua
huge cave in Viengxai

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua March 27th 2013

In our effort to experience the real Laos, we hopped on the bus to Sam Neua in east Laos. Trying to get off the beaten track wasn't really comfortable and wasn't that cheap either. After exhausting 16 hours on the bus, we arrived to a small town in the middle of mountains and dense forests. Coming to the mountains pretty much means we spent the whole time on a bus bumping up and down and left and right as the journey is just turns and cliffs and downhills and uphills and more turns and luckily for lots of people on the bus, there are vomiting plastic bags available in an unlimited amount. Only a few tourists come here to Sam Neua, usually only to change a bus and cross the border to Vietnam. We definitely didn't ... read more
Ashtray in a local village. The Vietnam was reminiscent
Passing through Vang Vieng
Picture 1159

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua November 1st 2012

After a relatively *extended* stay in Phonsavan, I continued heading northeastwards into the Laotian highlands, and it was another 8h winding journey to Sam Neua, the capital of the Hua Phanh province. The province is said to be the "birthplace" of Laos PDR, as it was here that the Pathet Lao retreated to hide in its caves in the face of relentless US bombing. The area developed and somewhat flourished following the end of the Secret War. My journey deep into this otherwise rather remote part of the country thus serves two purposes: to visit the Xieng Vai caves of the province, where the Pathet Lao troops hid during the bombing; and thereafter to cross over into Vietnam via the nearby Nam Xoi-Na Meo border crossing, to embark on the next leg of my Southeast Asian ... read more
Phoxaysanalom Temple
Phonsavan to Sam Neua
Sam Neua

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua June 14th 2011

We had decided on Sam Neau as our guidebook told us it was a worthwhile little picturesque place to stop by on the way to the Vietnam border. The surrounding mountains and paddy fields were in fact quite beautiful, but everywhere you look there is some kind of construction going on. I’m sure for the people who live there it’s a good thing but scaffolding and piles of sand and rubble everywhere aren't very pretty to look at. We walked around town to find a guesthouse and eventually settled on the first place we saw. We spent some time online before grabbing some dinner at what seemed to be the only restaurant in town. We were tired from the long bus journey and so slept in the next morning. We wanted to visit near by Vieng ... read more
A little one learning the trade young
Remote
Beautiful weather

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua January 30th 2010

Keith and I were lucky enough to tag along on a trip to see some more caves, to visit some villages and to check out the ride to the Vietnamese border from Vieng Xay. Some locals who lived in the caves around the time of the war were heading out for the day with Laup, the guy thats played a major role in developing the caves for tourism. Keith and I, Laup and his friend Paul, plus three people who work for the Tourism Council in Vientiane, all gathered in the morning, ready to depart. Around 9, five more Lao people arrived in a car from Sam Nua, the closest city, about an hour away, and we were off. First we stopped at a few villages known for basket weaving. Laup is exploring the possibility of ... read more
Village Scene
Views near Vietnam
the Vietnamese border

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua January 20th 2008

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua March 5th 2007

Viang Thong - Xam Nua proved to be the most gruelling songthaew journey yet, requiring nearly 7.5 hours to cover 150km. Yes, that's an average of 20 km/h. This was partly due to the nature of the terrain, being all hills and escarpments, and partly due to a problem with the songthaew (or the driver) that required all downhill sections to be conducted in 1st gear. From a time efficiency point of view, the night bus would have been a better bet. At least we had our friends from the LoEME to keep us company. Almost making up for this tortoise-like pace were the contents of the songthaew. Mention of rice sacks is almost unnecessary as they are a standard feature on these vehicles. Of more interest were several buckets of frogs, covered with mesh to ... read more
Pick-up gymnastics
Coloured drinks in the market
A classier pair of trekking shoes you'll never see

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua August 15th 2006

This was absolutely the most exciting bus ride of my life...and the longest, and the scariest, and the most uncomfortable as well. Nine and a half hours on twisting mountain roads going through the most beautiful scenery...I got bit by a leech when the bus got stuck and we all had to get out and push so that is another first for me - it's not painful at all and I didn't even notice til I got to the hotel in Phonsavan and my leg was covered in blood and happily the leech had already fallen off so I didn't have to actually deal with it. En bus de Sam Neua a Phonsavan, on a eu le totale: ecrasement d'un canard, coincage dans le boue (tout le monde descend pour aider a pousser et je pense ... read more
The pig in a bag on top of the bus
Get your snacks - it's going to be a long ride
Some of the wildlife that we did not run over

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua August 12th 2006

This entry was written in Luang Prabang on 19 August because there was no electricity in Sam Neua when I was there. This was a really interesting town. In order to save time I flew from Vientiane on Lao Airlines. The landing was spectacular because it's just a little airstrip in the middle of the mountains and the airplane was really small too - just 17 passengers. It was pretty exciting and much more fun than a normal commercial flight. The town itself is fascinating. Hardly any tourists come here and the ones that do are mainly passing through on their way to Viet Nam. This area is well known for the quality of its weaving. The same silk scarves that I bought for 25 USD up there are selling here in Luang Prabang for up ... read more
Sam Neua
Sam Neua
Sam Neua




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