Capital : Houei Xai Location: Northewestern Area: 6,196 km2
Population: 135,000 Density:21.79/ km2
Town and Districts
Houei Xai ,Ton Pheung, Meung, Pha-oudom and Paktha
The Bokeo Province is the smallest one in the country. Located along the three-border intersection of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, it is on the Lao side of the 'Golden Triangle'. The province has 34 ethnic groups, the second most ethnically diverse province in Laos. It has five districts: Huay Xai, Ton Pheung, Muang, Pha Oudom, with 36 townships, more than 450 villages and a total population of 61,000 consisting of many ethnic groups, each with its own lifestyles and customs. The name "Bokeo" means the pits of sapphire or called "Keo-Praseuth". The most lucrative occupation in Bokeo is gold panning and digging for precious stones, where you can see at Ban Nam Khok (The Lu village), 6 km from the town and Ban Houi Sala (The Hmong village), it's around 18 km far from the town of Houei Xay. This ecotourism project in the Nam Kan protected area will be a major international attraction for visitors and will provide one of the longest most interesting forest canopy walks in the world. There are ten walkways planned along with bungalows and an information centre.
This medium sized village is set at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Tha rivers and is a comfortable place to break the journey between Houei Xai and Pak Beng.
Set atop the bank of the Mekong, Pak Tha also marks the region from where Laos sits on both sides of the Mekong River. Not much happens in Pak Tha making it an ideal spot to rest and recharge.
A lot happens (by Pak Tha's standards) on the bank when the river is low, with food stalls setting up, boat building and in the late afternoon, a good football games kicks off near the Nam Tha riverbank. There are a couple of speedboat construction yards along the bank which may interest some. Also, when the river is lower there are some great rapids which some of the particularly deranged kids throw themselves into. Afternoon volleyball games are also the norm out the front of the guesthouse.
The village is basically made up of three main trails which run parallel to the river and have numerous smaller paths linking them together. The slowboats tend to stop at the southern end of town if heading south or at the mouth of the Nam Tha if heading north. The custom house is signposted and the guesthouse is just to the south of it, it is two stories and blue and green in colour.