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Vieng Xai

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Vieng Xai is a city in Hua Phan Province, Laos.


Vieng Xai (also Vieng Xay, Vieng Sai) is a district and town in Hua Phan Province. The town is located on Route 6, 30 Km from Sam Neua (Province capital) and 55  km from the Vietnam/Laos border in Na Meo.

The biggest attraction of the town are the caves. The former Pathet Lao headquarters of Vieng Xai sit in a striking valley of fertile hills and limestone cliffs riddled with caves, several of which were used to shelter the Pathet Lao officers during the second indo-china war.

During the 1960s, political developments in Laos were influential in the future of this whole region. The United States believed that Laos was crucial in the prevention of communist expansion, so this small country became caught up in the conflict between the US and the north Vietnamese.

In 1964, the US began what became nine years of extremely intensive bombing of the country, many bombs were haphazardly dropped simply to get rid of them following cancelled missions over Vietnam.

The Pathet Lao moved east to Vieng Xay and these limestone karst cave networks sheltered their headquarters during their struggle with the American-backed Royal Lao Government. In these caves the Pathet Lao established a “Hidden City” which supported around 20,000 people. During nine years of almost constant bombing, they sheltered in caves and surrounding jungle. Most of their daily lives were led under cover of darkness. Schools, hospitals and markets as well as government ministries, a radio station, a theatre and military barracks were all hidden in the caves.

In 1973 a ceasefire stopped the bombing and the new town of ViengXay was established as the capital of the liberated zone. When the Lao People's Democratic Republic was declared on 2 December 1975, the capital city was transferred to Vientiane.

Get in[edit]

from Sam Neua[edit]

  • Bus at 9-45 , 20,000 kip.
  • Tuk-tuk 150,000 kip one way regardless how many people you are. 250,000 for return ride.
  • Taxi

Get around[edit]

You can hire a bicycle from the caves' visitor centre.

Prices are:

  • Standard bicycle: 10,000 kip / tour or 20,000 kip / Day
  • Mountain bike: 15,000 kip / tour or 30,000 kip / Day

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Discover the “Hidden City”

There are tours to the caves in english every day starting at 9:00 and 13:00, the cost is 60,000 kip. You can also take a tour at other times during visitor centre open hours for an extra 50,000 kip per group. The tour lasts about 2.5 hr and includes a local guide and a well narrated audio book. A bike is needed as the tour covers a large area, and the centre provides them for an additional fee.

Vieng Xai Caves visitor centre (open 08:00-12:00, 13:30-16:30 all week - +856 64 314321) also has tourist information for the town and region. The centre is deserted except for the 09:00 & 13:00 tours.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Sabaidee Odisha Indian restaurant: Indian & Laotian dishes, all very good & reasonably priced. Veg. & non-veg. available. Also can exchange money & rent motorbikes & bicycles there. Near the ATM that is nearest the T-junction formed by the main road through town and the east-west "highway."

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Thavisay hotel (+856 20 5665026) - a two storey hotel, all rooms have private hot-water bathroom, a fan and a double bed with a mosquito net. Simple but the setting is pleasant, and the owners are very friendly. (50,000 – 60,000 kip)
  • Xailomyen G.H – A large timber guest house on stilts over a small lake. All rooms have a mosquito net, there is also a restaurant and beer. (50,000 – 60,000 kip)
  • Naxay G.H – the cute wooden bungalows have mosquito net, hot water bathroom and a fan. Located near the Caves Visitor center. (50,000 – 70,000 Kip)
  • Thongnakay G.H – a new building, all the six rooms have a fan, double bed with a mosquito net and private hot-water bathroom. (50,000 – 60,000 kip), 030 99907206, 9120250
  • Tontavan G.H -
  • Phathao G.H -


Get out[edit]

  • Sam Neua – between 12:30 - 14:00 there is a bus on the main road (1 km from the market to the North)
  • Na Meo (Lao/Vietnam border) - 07:15 approximately - a songthaew that departs from SamNeua at 06:45. You should wait on the main road from Sam Neua to Na Meo (approximately 1 km from the town centre). 2.5 – 3 hours, 22,000 kip.
  • Vietnam - the minibus departing from Sam Neua to Thanh Hoa should stop at the junction next to Sabaidee Odesha Restaurant (confirm from your GH or the restaurant) approximately one hour after the departure, 7-8 hours, 180,000 kip.

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