Saturday, April 17, 2010

Muang Sing, Laos

Lounging in the northwestern corner of Laos, Muang Sing is a sleepy little town that seems to be prodded awake due to its proximity to the infamous Golden Triangle. But with the exposure given in the guidebooks and the warning of rapid development, the town greeted me with a somewhat sluggish demeonor, and hopefully, the authenticity of the town have remained intact! For travellers on a northern Laos trip, Muang Sing is a convenient stop along the way to Xiang Kok, the port of call for a boat trip down the Mekong to Houayxai and downward to northern Thailand. When it became known for its easy access to opium, the town came into prominence. Perhaps it was low season, or perhaps I looked the decent sort (:p), but I was not harassed, and was generally left alone most of the time. (I hear that the Lao government had a clamp down on the opium thingy)
Like its bigger brother Luang Namtha on the east, Muang Sing makes an excellent base for trekking trips to see some of the ethnic tribes of northern Laos. These include the Hmong, Ankha, Tai Lue and Tai Dam. In fact, Muang Sing is known for its morning market where the various tribal communities gather on the edge of the town for commerce, wearing their colourful attire. This was my main aim for coming to town. However, the morning that I went to see the market, the turnout seems alittle disappointing. Perhaps it was the dismal rainy morning but nevertheless, the visit to Muang Sing was still a good one. The lush green rice fields of the Laos countryside is really pretty, and I enjoyed walking around town. There is also a Tribal Museum in town, which shows the history of the various hill tribes, including the different types of tribal costumes! You should also take the opportunity for a relaxing traditional Laos massage or herbal sauna in a wooden hut! The transport options to Muang Sing were really basic (sawngthaew), but I'm sure the massage will help you forget it. From here, there are transport to Boten if you do want to exit to China. Otherwise, it will be sawngthaew to Xiang Kok and beyond.

This part of Laos is wonderful for photography indeed. For photography learning material, read more about Mastering the Exposure Triangle at!

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Zara said...
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