Introducing Huay Xai
Allegedly home to a US heroin processing plant during the Secret War, these days the only things trafficked through Huay Xai are travellers en route to Luang Prabang. Separated from Thailand by the mother river that is the Mekong, for many it is their first impression of Laos: don't worry, it does get better. By night its central drag dons its fairy lights and fires up roadside food vendors, and there are some welcoming traveller guesthouses and tasty cafes. Huay Xai is also the HQ of the now-fabled Gibbon Experience, the most talked-about environmentally responsible jungle adventure in the country.