Introducing Muang Sing
Bordering Myanmar and almost within grasp of the green hills of China, this is the heart of the Golden Triangle. Rural Muang Sing has a backwater feel that transports you to a less complicated time. Formerly on the once infamous opium trail, it's a sleepy town of wilting, Tai Lü–style houses and trekking has overtaken smuggling contraband. Hmong, Tai Lü, Akha and Tai Dam are all seen here in traditional dress at the morning market (get there for dawn), giving the town a frontier feel.
Back in the late-90s, it was one of the must-visit destinations in Laos, but in the past decade, with the end of fast boat services and the clampdown on the opium trade, it has somewhat dropped off the traveller radar, eclipsed by other adventure centres like Nong Khiaw or Vang Vieng. There is an air of torpor about the town, but the real draw is the countryside beyond. Visitors with time to explore are rewarded with some of the most scenic responsible trekking opportunities in the Nam Ha NPA.