Mountainous province has also flat areas where they grow rice for their own supply. Sometimes the fields are irrigated and they can supply rice throughout the year; but that's not the rule. Most fields are dry in dry season and can only be used for rice planting in wet season. This may be enough to feed one family but not enough for sale if they had very little field. Those who had been lucky to have a field by the river they can use ancient irrigation methods and will grow rice at least twice a year, so surplus will be sold at local or regional markets.
This is the photo of more producitve rice fields in the valley close to Nam Pouy NPA. It takes 1 or 2 hrs to get there by car or motorbike from Sayabouly - depends how fast you drive but the road is bad especially when you got off the main one (the main one here means road between Saya and Pak Lay). It's quite large place and the views are pleasant. If you stop for a while you will be able to hear many birds which is quite a quality of the area. Less pleasant thing is that you may meet poisonous snakes - in which case you must stay calm and make no surprising movements. Cobras and phytons are among most famous here.
Generally speaking Sainyabouly province is off the beaten path destiantion itself, but it has a lot of scenic qualities and diverse ethnic population.. It's also rich with wildlife and has been famous for one of the largest population of Asian elephants in Laos. Researchers say there are some wild elephants left in Nam Pouy protected area. Elephants must not be approached directly in matting season when they become dangerous when disturbed and can injure or even kill intruders. These are real stories from locals and should be taken seriously in case you go to jungle and cross elephant's way (also domesticated ones can be equally dangerous at that time). Aonther thing is related to animists beliefs - to many people Lao and ethnic tribes, forest is sacred place and place where they put the bones of their ancestors. That's why some trees and parts of forests aren't allowed to touch or visit.
To get to Nam Pouy you'll need to rent your own vehicle or a guide. Some agenices can arrange cycling through the area with their guide but in general these are very remote areas where foreign tourists and adventurers aren't seen often yet. In case you'll be doing the trip through the NPA entirely by yourself (which is doable but depends on the current weather situation) you make sure that your vehicle is in good condition and that you know how to fix it because those are sparsely inhabitated places and there aren't lots of mechanics. When there are they will do their best but they have limited choice of tools and spare parts. In the mountainous areas of NPA you cannot count on the signal either, so you won't be able to call anyone.
As for medical service - it's limited to the district capitals and there's a basic service in the bigger villages so bring some medicine with you.
You can enter Sayabouly from Thailand, there are 2 border check points and one near Hongsa has Visa on arrival facility. The border near Botene (Kentao) has no VOA yet and visas must be obtained in advance.