As yet, it is one of the least visited provinces in the country and offers an authentic and varied experience for visitors. You can enjoy a pristine natural environment of mountains, rivers, waterfalls and forests; visit the caves at Viengxay for a unique insight into the history of the country; and discover the mysterious standing stones of Hintang Archaeological Park which date back more than 2,000 years.
Houaphanh is home to 22 different ethnic groups, including Hmong, Thai Deng, and Yao. Ethnic minority villages are dotted along many of the roads around the province and people of the different minorities are often seen buying and selling goods at the market in Xamneua District.
1. Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park
The Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park (NEPL) is the largest and one of the most biodiverse protected areas in Lao PDR. Nam Et-Phou Louey is unique in its rich wildlife biodiversity supporting a wide range of species, many of which are endangered, including wild cats and bears, wild dog “Dhole”, the critically endangered Northern White-cheeked Gibbon, Phayre’s Langur, binturongs, otters and many more. NEPL NP is also great for birding. Almost 200 bird species are recorded in NEPL NP, including: Blyth’s Kingfishers, Eared pitta, and Red-Collared Woodpecker.
2. Hintang Archaeological Park (Standing Stones)
Over 2,000 years old, the menhirs (standing stones) in the park were first examined in 1931. The park also had burial sites, which contained ancient trinkets. Marked by standing rock slabs and stone disks, these relics predate the Plain of Jars and are located along a 12km mountain ridge in the province’s south.
3. Independence Monument
The Independence Monument, situated 1km from the town center, was constructed in 1978. Located on a hill at the Northwest edge of the town, the monument offers a panoramic view of the provincial capital, Xamneua.
4. Viengxay Caves
The Viengxay Caves, also called the “Hidden City”, is a network of caves used by the Pathet Lao (the Lao revolutionary movement) during the Secret War.
5. Viengthong/Muang Hiam Hot Springs
The springs are located approximately 1km North of the town. The water in some of the springs can reach temperatures of up to 100 degrees. The site offers opportunities for medicinal bathing as well as cooking boiled eggs for your own breakfast or lunch.