Kids playing in the villages

Explore Remote Villages: Huay San, Ba Na, and Huay

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Wandering off, far into the north of Laos, is an experience of a lifetime. With the remote villages of Huay San, Ba Na, and Huay Bo offering such refreshing views of life from a different perspective, we had an absolute blast observing the daily chores, houses, farms, livestock, their kind of simple living, and so much more. In this guide, we have highlighted our experience in the villages and information and tips that could prove helpful to you, before you visit the villages!

Huay San, Huay Bo, and Ba Na Villages

How to Reach?

How to reach Huay San, Ba Na, and Huay Bo

All three villages—Huay San, Ba Na, and Huay Bo—are within walking distance from Muang Ngoy, connected by an unpaved road. Most visitors come from Muang Ngoy, and there’s a shortcut marked on offline maps like OSMAND and, as well as wider truck roads leading to the villages. 

Private truck rides to Ba Na village cost 250,000 KIP (12.5 USD) and 300,000 KIP (15 USD) to Huay San. Hitchhiking on trucks is also an option, as we did on our way back. Hiring a guide from Muang Ngoy or exploring the villages on your own are other possibilities. While walking, you’ll be on dirt roads, so hiking shoes aren’t necessary. However, your shoes will likely get dirty due to the road conditions, regardless of the season you visit.

Network Connectivity

You’ll find intermittent to moderate Unitel signals in Huay San, Huay Bo, and Ba Na villages, but locals prefer Lao Telecom for better reception. However, homestays don’t offer Wi-Fi. When navigating to these villages, expect no signal or very poor reception, so it’s wise to download offline maps beforehand.

Languages Spoken

In the villages, people primarily speak Lao, with only a few speaking limited English or French. Google Translate can be handy for communication, so it’s a good idea to download the Lao language offline before your visit due to poor signal in the villages.

Best Time to Visit

Huay San, Huay Bo, and Ba Na villages in Laos

Although you can visit the villages all year round, the best time is from October to February after the monsoon, when the weather is perfect for exploring. March, April, and May are hotter and drier. During these dry months, crop burning can cause mistiness. The rainy season starts in June and lasts until September. The path to the villages can get very slippery during the monsoon.

ATM & Fuel Stations

There are no ATMs or fuel stations in the village, so travelers need to head to Nong Khiaw for fuel. Cash is essential in all three villages, as they don’t accept card payments or digital transactions.

Electricity & Water

Electricity was introduced to the villages only recently. Huay San and Huay Bo rely on solar power, while Ba Na generates electricity from a river-powered rotating motor. Water is sourced from groundwater and nearby streams. Don’t expect fans or air conditioning in the villages; lights are available after sunset. You’ll find mobile charging points for your convenience.

Where to Eat?

Each village has a small shop selling candies, soft drinks, snacks, and quick bites. The homestays have restaurants but mainly serve traditional Lao dishes like noodle soup, fried noodles, and rice with meat. Vegetables are freshly picked from local farms and cooked with care.

Where to Stay?

Huay San has just one homestay, while Ba Na has a few, and Huay Bo has two. The rooms typically feature double beds with bamboo and wooden flooring in the traditional stilt style. Restrooms are basic with squat-type toilets, so bring tissue paper if needed. Water for bathing and washing needs to be fetched from large tanks or barrels.

Here are some personal recommendations, along with their contact numbers. They don’t use WhatsApp, so you’ll need to call them if needed. The prices listed are for reference only and may vary. They speak limited English but good French.

  • Keomani Homestay in Huay San village: 40000 KIP (2 USD) – +856 309165696
  • OB Guesthouse in Ba Na village: 50000 KIP (2.5 USD) – +856 309571615
  • Samsanouk Homestay in Huay Bo: 50000 KIP (3 USD) +856 304755949
  • Konsavan Guesthouse in Huay Bo: 40000 KIP for a dorm bed, 60000 KIP for a private room – +856 304778112, +856 304770377

Huay San

Huay San Village, Laos

Huay San village, often overlooked by many, is the most authentic and underdeveloped of the three villages.

To get there, follow the offline maps and direction markers. Take a left turn from the main road along the stream, passing by a lavender flower farm for about 100 meters, then continue along the stream until you reach the village.

As we entered, a couple of girls greeted us with a cheerful “Sabaidee.” We were welcomed by a weaving machine and a guesthouse near the entrance, followed by a small shop where the shopkeeper was busy on a wireless landline phone.

Houses in the remote villages o f Laos

Most of the houses in the village are made of bamboo and wood, with asbestos sheet roofs. Wood-fired stoves are outside homes, and utensils, bags, and clothes hang on the walls. Every home is powered by solar energy.

Solar powered houses

As you explore further, you’ll witness daily village life – cows, buffaloes, chickens, hens, ducks, and villagers engaged in routine activities. Children play and run around while adults chat with neighbors or relax on hammocks. On our way back, we encountered a bird hunter marching fast. He showed us the gunpowder and pellets.

Drying onions on the streets of Laos

Ba Na

Ba Na village, Loas

Ba Na village is the most developed but perhaps the least captivating of the three, in our opinion. Its houses are made of cement, and numerous houses are scattered throughout the village. You’ll also find a stupa and a temple here.

Electricity generation in Ba Na

The village’s main highlight is its electricity generation. The village has set up motors to rotate and generate power using the nearby flowing stream. While it’s quite basic, it serves its purpose well. Along the stream, you may see locals washing clothes or fishing. Additionally, some villagers can be spotted weaving in the village.

Huay Bo

Huay Bo village Laos

To reach Huay Bo from Ba Na, cross the nearby stream and follow the visible track, as given on the offline maps. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the sounds of livestock, much like in Huay San. The village is characterized by more bamboo and wood houses, all powered by solar energy. A school is situated at the entrance.

Bamboo crafting in Loas

In Huay Bo, we saw more children and locals going about their daily lives. We observed a man crafting a bamboo basket while garlic and spices were dried on house rooftops. Dogs roamed freely throughout the village.

While sipping on some not-so-great lemon juice at a local restaurant, we noticed some girls carrying food for pigs. Intrigued, we followed them as they crossed fields and walked along the stream before reaching a pig farm located about 15 minutes away from the village.

Pg farm in Laos

At the entrance, the pigs greeted them with wagging tails, excited for their arrival. The farm sprawled out expansively, with pigs, hens, chickens, and ducks freely roaming about—easily numbering between 100 and 300. The girls set about their task, fetching water from the nearby river to mix with the pigs’ food. Curious, we followed one of the girls to see her routine.

With a cheerful call of ‘Arrrrahh,’ the girl led the pigs to a shelter, where they obediently followed her inside. Once in, she closed the door behind her, cleaned their food plate—a simple wooden log cut in the front—and proceeded to feed the eager pigs while they watched from outside the shelter’s fence.

Pig farm in Huay Bo village

The hungry pigs and chickens eagerly fought for their meal. Afterward, the girls released them back into the open and made their way back to the village. When we asked, they explained that the pigs belonged to the entire village, not to any individual. They mentioned that others from the village, including an old woman, also come daily to feed the pigs, both in the morning and evening.

With the villagers in Laos

Disclaimer: Our experiences may vary from yours, and you might see something different that we didn’t. We recommend you go without any expectations and return with tons of memories!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can all three villages be visited in one day?

We managed to visit all three villages in just one day, although it was quite a trek! If you’re short on time like we were, it’s doable, but be prepared for a bit of walking. For a more relaxed experience, consider staying overnight in one of the villages. That way, you can soak in more of the local atmosphere before returning to Muang Ngoy the next day.

Can you go solo to these remote villages? Is it safe?

Absolutely, you can. Atchaya explored these remote villages on her own. There is nothing to be afraid of or worried about. You’ll meet fellow travelers on your way or at the villages.

If you have any questions, comment below. We’ll do our best to answer them. Also, if you’ve found this blog helpful, comment below! And if you’re eager for more extensive hiking guides and travel tips, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and give us a follow on social media – find us on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!

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