Ban Houayxai Travel Guide

  • Huayxai from the river.
    Huayxai from the river.
    by pfsmalo
  • The accident.
    The accident.
    by pfsmalo
  • Impaled on the electric pole.
    Impaled on the electric pole.
    by pfsmalo

Ban Houayxai Things to Do


    These photographs were taken back in 1992 when foreigners could not enter or leave using the Chiang Khong/Haouyxai river crossing but when we visited Laos in 2011 this was now possible to do. The photos were taken with my zoom lens while on the river on the Thai side. Nothing had changed since the earlier photograph was taken, except it was a lot...


    It is nice to wander westwards to where the vehicle ferry crosses the river. You can sit at a restaurant and have a snack while watching the trucks being loaded on the barges for the short crossing. We were amazed how they manage to cram 8 trucks on to the barges. Many trucks return empty to Thailand but all entering Laos are completely full. It is...

  • Lazy p.m. waiting for the slow ferry to...

    Tired and hungry waiting for the next ferry Trip to Chiang Khong. This restaurant just in front of the Mekong River served a very good and tasteful French Fries. And the traditional Lao beer saved our thirsty throat after a long walk in the Town. There was nothing special on this day. Joining the Gibbon experience was too late for our limited...


    This Wat overlooks Thanon Saykhong which is the street that runs parallel to the river, where many of the guest houses and restaurants can be found. The steps lead up from the street and it is quite a colourful temple at the top where you get a real good view. Admire the beautiful paintings and spend some time chatting to the friendly monks.


    The Lao Red Cross offers a relaxing massage or a herbal sauna at a very reasonable price ($4,$3) and this money goes to help the children in the villages. The Red Cross are located in most Lao towns and as far as i know they all provide this service. Their building is located about a kilometre west of the passenger boat landing, just follow the...

  • Slowboat to Luang Prabang

    The main reason for coming to Huay Xai is to take the slowboat to Luang Prabang along the Mekong River. The trip takes two days with an overnight stop at the small village of Pak Beng along the way. The trip is very popular with western tourists but also caters for local people who ride between various villages that the boat calls at. The boat I...

  • Fort Carnot

    The ruins of a small French fort known as Fort Carnot can be found if you continue along the main road following the flow of the river. It was built around 1900 and has two large watchtowers, an amenities block including a kitchen and prison cell, two large garrison buildings, and tunnels leading to external guardhouses. It has been off limits to...

  • Wat Chome Khaou Manirat

    A series of steps, flanked by nagas (snakes), opposite the road that leads up to the main road from the immigration office, takes you up to this charming small temple. A kind monk met me and showed me around and said that the temple dates back around 40 years.

  • Long Climb to the Top!

    Wat Jom Khao Manilat - I didn't keep track but there are a LOT of steps from the street to the wat. Very serene location with nice views across the river to Thailand. A picturesque place. Unfortunately, once there I realized my camera batteries were dead and the spares in my bag at the guest house! Check your batteries (and heart condition - LOL)...


Ban Houayxai Hotels

Ban Houayxai Restaurants


    This restaurant is located just before the Customs and Immigration Offices and is right next to the river built on a huge slab of concrete. This is mostly frequented by Lao and Thai customers as there are a few restaurants catering specially for travellers on the main street and not too many foreigners dine here, but they don't know what they are...

  • Along main road

    This restaurant is located in the town on the main road on the left hand side as you walk towards the slowboat to Luang Prabang dock. I came here for dinner during my only night in Huay Xai and had some very good pieces of breaded chicken and 'real' chunky chips washed down with a bottle of Beer Lao for 47,000kip. I came back here for breakfast the...

  • Overlooking river by slowboat departure

    This restaurant is located overlooking the river, just up from the slow ferry dock so it's a bit far from the rest of the town. I came here and had lunch all by myself after booking a ticket on the slow ferry to Luang Prabang from the ferry office. I had chicken-fried rice and a Pepsi for 70 baht.

  • Great Mushrooms!

    Didn't take good notes for this place other than the mushrooms. A BIG bowl, nearly a meal in itself for Bt100. As with most places kitchen is slow so don't wait until you're starving to order. Friendly staff, cold beer, small but pleasant place. Afternoon sun can be a problem if you sit outside. The Mushrooms!!

  • Great View

    Had a very tasty chicken breast steak here. Not the usual skinny Asian chicken either! The owner skimped on the fries but I suspect she ran out as there was a food delivery while I ate. Very nice covered and shady deck overlooking the Mekong and Thailand.Nice place to stay as well. Read my review of the guest house.

  • Tasty french toast

    Tasty french toast, difficult to screw that up, for Bt40. Service is slower than most places, if you can believe its possible. Old woman might require a cattle prod to get her out to your table. I've heard and read many complaints about this place but thought I'd give it a try anyway.

  • Good Indian food

    Very neat and clean restaurant with tablecloths and cloth napkins (surprise!) and flowers, albeit plastic, on the table. Very friendly and efficient staff. Nice to visit a place in SE Asia where they don't hover over you waiting while you read the menu! Good eng. lang. menu with descriptions for those of us with limited Indian food...

  • Taking a lot of time serving the food!!!

    (last date visited: Dec. 14, 2004)1. lao tea - 3,000 kip2. rice porridge with chicken or pork - 7,000 kip

  • Tamagoon

    (last date visited: Dec. 14, 2004)1. rice (kao-niew) 2. tamagoon (somthan lao)meal price - 10,000 kip (ThB 100.00)Too spicy!!!!


Ban Houayxai Transportation

  • Road to Luang Nam Tha.

    To get up to Luang Nam Tha, it is first necessary to get out to the bus station by tuktuk. I found this pretty prevalent in Lao that the bus stations were frequently at some distance from the centre. It is not as if the centre of most towns are clogged up with traffic, although I suppose it keeps the tuktuk drivers busy and puts a few KIP in their...


    When leaving the town to cross the Mekhong to Chiang Khong in Thailand the Immigration Office opens at 8 am and at the weekend there is an extra dollar charge for an overtime fee. We spent all our spare change leaving just enough to pay for the boat across the Mekhong, so had to change another $100 to get across. i think the office closes at 6 pm.

  • River Crossing from Chiang Khong

    The only way to reach Huay Xai from the Thai side at Chiang Khong, is by taking a long-tailed boat across the Mekong River. It's certainly a fun way to enter a country! The Lao side of the border closes at 6pm. The crossing costs 30B plus an extra 10B per bag.


Ban Houayxai Local Customs

  • Stilt villages along river

    The slowboat to Luang Prabang passes by many bamboo stilt villages which you can see perched on the slopes that lead up from the river. The boat stops at a few of these villages along the way to drop off goods and food plus people and even live chickens in cages which were on the roof of the boat. At one stop several 50kg bags of rice were...

  • Communism

    One of the biggest things you'll notice if you've just arrived from the Thai side, is the sudden display of communism in the town. There's lots of red hammer and sickle flags flying around plus I saw the Laos national emblem on the side of a building along the main street that's also very communist in design. Don't worry about any of this as it...

  • Laos Family & Kids

    (last stayed in this guest house - Dec. 14 - 15, 2004)One of the kids in this Guest House can speak English fluently.They were friendly kids of Laos.


Ban Houayxai Warnings and Dangers

  • li-anne's Profile Photo

    BAP guesthouse, don''t trust the old...

    by li-anne Written Dec 17, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We had dinner at BAP guesthouse and made here the reservations for the slowboat to Luang Prabang.
    The guesthouse was runned by a typical old lady. She's very funny and the knows that.
    Because we didn't had any Lao money (kip) we decided to change it with here.
    Later on we found out that she gave us the worst course ever!
    We got about 25% less than we should have gotten.
    Of course this is what happens frequently, you just arrive in another country, and the bank is closed. There are no ATM's in Houay Xai, so the only thing is to change with people.
    But I think this lady cheated us a lot.
    By the way- she sells her boat tickets too expensive also of course. Actuallly she doesn't give you tickets, only money (kip) with a piece of paper that you'll have to give to the boatman.
    Save money and do it yourself!!!!!
    Just take a tuktuk to the pier, and buy them there.
    It was a good thing that we didn't slept there!

    dinner at BAP guesthouse
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

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Ban Houayxai What to Pack

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo


    by Willettsworld Written Apr 21, 2010

    Miscellaneous: When I booked my ticket for the slowboat to Luang Prabang from the ferry terminal office, a guy showed me the boat so that I could see what it was like before the trip. The boats have wooden seats with no cushions so it's best to buy a cushion for added comfort bearing in mind that you'll be sitting down for the best part of 2 days. You can buy them at a shop along the turn-off road that goes down to where the slowboats are docked.

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Ban Houayxai Favorites

  • Post Office

    There's a useful modern looking post office along the main road, towards Fort Carnot (turn right after coming up the road from the immigration office).

  • Bank

    There's a small bank with a very useful ATM machine outside if you turn left at the main road after coming up the road from the immigration office. Inside, they change Thai Baht and other currencies.

  • Slowboat to Luang Prabang ticket

    I bought my slowboat to Luang Prabang ticket from the ferry terminal office which is located up the hill from where the ferries are located. This meant walking a fair way out of town but I didn't mind as I had half-a-day to kill walking around the town after arriving from Thailand. The ticket cost me 950 baht - 220,000 kip/US$30 and the guy showed...


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