Vieng Phouka is a town in Northern Laos.
Vieng Phoukha is a mountainous district located in the south of Luang Nam Tha Province on Road 3 about 60 km from Luang NamTha town. It has a total land area of 1866 square Kilometers, bording NamTha, Nalae and Long district as well as Bokeo Province. With population of 18000 people ( in 2005 )
Vieng Phoukha is the the main town between NamTha and Huay Xai in Bokeo, So if you are entering or exiting Laos you will pass this town.
Since Vieng Phoukha is located about 60 km away from Luang Namtha (city, not the province), public transport is the only way to get here.
At the local busstation in Luang Namtha you can see a lot of people just sitting and waiting around until there are enough passengers for their trip... A ticket here costs (December 2018) 25 000 kip. So if you don't have any plans at all and like waiting half a day at a local Lao busstation with no certainty, this is your chance.
The local busstation is located just behind hotel Amandra, it is very closeby and in walkingdistance of the centre of Luang Namtha.
You can get to the big busstation from Luang Namtha city center by sonthaew (a little bit more than 10 km). Sonthaew drivers often park their car in front of tour-companies or certain hotels. When you are alone, they will ask a ridiculous amount like 50 000 kip but the price when with more people(foreigners / Lao) is actually between 15 000 kip and 20 000 kip. When going to the local busstation just outside of Luang Namtha city center, there is a bigger chance to travel with more people...Although it involves waiting a minivan that arrives from an outer district that hopefully has some people on it who still need to transfer to the big busstation.
Most of the drivers speak absolutely no English or French whatsowever. Vieng Phoukha is a district but also a village. The local busstation / big market in Vieng Phoukha are - logically... not - located a number of kilometers from the actual village. This was done because there was still land available outside city limits. Therefore it is important that the driver drops you of in the village and not at the busstation outside of the village because you will then need to walk to the village... So in order to avoid walking alongside a Lao road, you can either show the driver a picture of a hotel in the village of Vieng Phoukha or you can try to speak Lao and say "get of in village Vieng Phoukha" = "long baan Tiaow" (the former name of the village is 'baan Tiaow')... or in Lao: "ບ້ານ ວຽງພູຄາ".
Nothing especially. Just Lao life alongside a busy road that connects China and Thailand.
Vieng Phoukha offers some of the most spectacular trekking in Luang Nam Tha Province but there aren't many tourists in the town (most of the time there isn't anyone), so if you are coming to trek don't rely on other people, chances are that you will be the only westerner in town.
If you want a local experience for a reasonable price, it is best to contact the guides from the village direct and don't rely on tour agencies who will charge you up to three times what the local guides will do.
In November 2018 the price for a single person - trekking in the Vieng Phoukha area was 1 250 000 kip. The trip consisted of:
Bring some extra water and a sleeping bag, since it can get colder than expected in the mountains.
If you are with more people, the price will naturally go down.
At least one local guides is fluent in English, best to contact him before coming to Vieng Phoukha in order to see if there are guides available, since most villagers are full time farmers. Phone number local guides: 30 93 80 274 (English and Lao).
Local shops with a couple of places where you can also buy noodlesoup (feu or kao bpiak).
In the late afternoon there will be locals selling vegetables, meat and other products alongside the road close to the bridge. Very cheap.
All the guest Houses are simple thatched-Bamboo or wooden affairs, some have attached toilet and some have outside.
There are four guest houses. In the south part of town (3 after the bridge) and one (Bo Kung) 300 m from town (200 m from the tourist office).
A nice family runs the place, and has food.
Either you stand alongside the road in the village itself and wave at anything that looks like a bus in order to get them to stop and ask if there is still a seat or you go to the new market with busstation attached outside of the village (2-3 km) outside (in the direction of Luang Namtha). There is also a big market in the back. Look out for the 'Huawei'-billboards when trying to locate the market. Or ask in Lao "ta-laat yoe-sai? (where is the market?)".