Muang Sing



Located in Laos' far northwest corner, 472 mi/760 km northwest of Vientiane, near the borders with Myanmar and China, Muang Sing is a good place to see some of the country's most colorful hill-tribe people. Once the largest opium market in the Golden Triangle, Muang Sing still has a number of opium dens (no matter what anyone tells you, opium is illegal in Laos), but the city is also a center for more legitimate commerce for a great variety of ethnic groups.

The town itself is very small and doesn't have a great deal to offer unless you are intending to use it as a base for treks into the hills. Visitors will notice the influx of Chinese migrants and trucks with Chinese license plates. The region is exploited for its natural resources such as timber, which all heads for China. The stripped hillsides have been planted with rubber trees. The morning market on the outskirts of town is worth a visit. To get to Muang Sing, you can travel by road from Luang Prabang or fly to Luang Nam Tha and take a passenger truck.

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