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Muang Sing

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Muang Sing is a city in Northern Laos.

Muang Sing Town Muang Sing District is located in Luang Namtha's far northwest bordering Myanmar and China's Yunnan province with historic Muang Sing Town as its administrative and economic centre. Its landscape is predominantly mountainous with elevation ranging between 540 to 2,094 meters, traditionally dominated by forest and upland swidden farming. The rainy season lasts from May to October. The weather turns cool and dry from November to February with temperatures dropping as low as 5°C at night. In this time winter woolies will be needed in the morning and evening. March and April are the hottest months, with the mercury approaching 40°C. The average temperature is 25 °C. Muang Sing has a total population of 23,500 inhabitants, spreading over 95 villages. Muang Sing is a traditional Tai Lue, Tai Neua and Akha cultural nexus, as well as a trade center for Tai Dam, Hmong, Mien and Lolo. The most common groups are Akha accounting for about half of the residents followed by Tai Lue accounting for 30%. While Akha primarily inhabit upland areas, Tai Lue villages are some of the province's oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the northern reaches of the Muang Sing valley.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

  • From Luang Namtha small buses depart several times a day at a small bus station near the Lao Airline Office.

Get around[edit]

To get around Muang Sing tuk-tuks are readily available at the morning market. Bicycles can be rented in town. There is no local public transport in town.

See[edit][add listing]

Muang Sing Museum Close to the center of town, is a good place to start exploring Muang Sing's rich culture and history. The old wood and brick building was once the residence of Phanya Sekong, a local lord called Jao Fa Noi or Little Prince, who ruled over the area in the early 20th century. The building was restored in 2005. Due to its functional structure the façade was refinished, but the clay roofing tiles that covered the residence of Phaya Sekong before were converted to a mix of corrugated iron and asbestos tiles painted red.

There is an excellent collection of traditional tools from the major ethnic groups in the area. Displayed on the building's upper floor is an interesting variety of valuable 18 - 19th century historic and religious pieces that have been preserved by the people of Muang Sing. Open Monday-Friday from 9 to 11:30 am and 1:30 to 3:30 pm, admission fee 5,000 kip (plus 5,000 kip extra for the Akha film).

Ethnic Groups Villages Take a guided tour by one of the local operators or hop on a bicycle for a full-day exploring Muang Sings’ town environs. On a tour you will visit 8-10 villages and learn about the rural life of different ethnic groups. The China border is only 10 km from town and makes for a refreshing journey on a bicycle. You can't cross the border, however the scenery along the way is beautiful and worth the ride. The Muang Sing Market The heart of the town and attracts people from the entire region to buy fresh foods and products for daily use imported from China. Best time to visit the market is between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning: retailers from all the ethnic groups arrive to sell vegetables, fruits and meat, and Tai Lue women present their famous noodles. It's also a great place to look for local handicrafts purchased by Tai Dam, Tai Lue and other ethnic groups. Try the local food such as soybean paste, waffles and local sweets (‘Kainom’) often made from sticky rice and coconut.

That Xieng Tueng (Xieng Tung Stupa) The most important stupa in Muang Sing. It is said to contain the Adam's apple of Buddha. The date of when it was built is unknown. To the left of the stupa are some stairs which lead to a sacred fountain and a sacred stone. If you follow a path to the right of the stupa (be careful!) downhill you might be able to find the old moat and wall of the stupa. The biggest festival of the year, That Xieng Tung Festival, is held here every year during the full moon of the 12th lunar month (usually in late October or early November) and attracts a wide gathering from villages and people around the district and Luang Namtha province. The stupa is located 5.5 km from the center of town, on the road towards Luang Namtha, situated on top of a hill. There is a big dirt road leading up to it on your right as you're coming from Muang Sing.

Temples & Monasteries In Muang Sing more that 27 temples (Vat), that the old Vat is Vat Xieng Chai (Vat Luang). The most important vat in the area is located off the main road next to the museum. By 1890 only Vat Luang existed within the town walls. Vat Namkeo, which has a large monk residency, is a short walk from the fort. It is also quite beautiful and is located on the road to Xieng kok, just as you turn off from the paved road to Namtha on the right. Vat Xiang Yeun, and Vat Xieng Lae can be visited along the way to the Muang Sing Market on the northern edge of town. Vat Xieng In short distance of the bus station.

[Xieng Khaeng Mountains & Upper Mekong [1] Xieng Khaeng is a largely unexplored, stunning region with beautiful mountains, waterfalls and caves, embedded between mountains and the Mekong River. Only a couple of hours from Muang Sing town, the Akha and Tai Lue villages in this remote area have still kept their traditions and culture. Access to Xieng Khaeng is difficult and a local guide is required. The northern-most extreme of the Mekong River in Laos is found in Muang Sing. As the Mekong rushes out of China into the Green Triangle bordering Myanmar, it makes its way through steep canyons before slowing down further south. This section can be accessed by boat from Xiengkok in Long District, but also by gravel road leading across the mountains from Muang Sing down to Xieng Khaeng. On this remote and beautiful stretch of the river are some of the oldest Tai Lue settlements in the district: Ban Xay and Ban Xieng Khaeng. Those looking for adventure can explore Xieng Khaeng on a 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 days trek and river cruise or on a 4WD tour to be booked by Phou Iu Eco-Tourism Laos or Phou Iu Bungalows in Muang Sing.

Scenery & Nature in Muang Sing Nam Keo Waterfall: nature lovers will enjoy this place. The multi-tiered Nam Keo Waterfall is located about 2 kilometers from the That Xieng Tung and can be visited as part of a guided tour from the Muang Sing Ecoguide Service or while on the Akha Experience. Pha Yueng Waterfall is a good place for a refreshing dip. It is located in Nam Ha National Protected Area, 17 km south of Muang Sing on the road to Luang Namtha. Follow the trail along the river for about 20 Minutes, and then you will reach the waterfall.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Trekking
  • Gibbon experience

Buy[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Beer Lao

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are a mix of guesthouses interspersed on the main street heading into the center of town where the museum is located.

Phou Iu Guest House and Restaurant [2] Premier ecotourism lodge (Eco-lodge). It's off the main street, about 100 m down a dirt road on the left just past Nam Keo Luang Bridge. Comfortable clean rooms. 11 separate bungalows, 6 twin rooms and 14 double rooms and 3 triples. Room facilities: fan, hot water in bath room, small table, water, bath towel, wardrobe, big chair made by wooden inside living room and outside for relax and reading, double room, single room and provide extra bad. Bungalows are constructed with local materials in a local Tai Lue, Khmu and Akha style adapted for your comfort and pleasure.

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