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Muong Lay/Vietnam

Introducing Muong Lay

Formerly known as Lai Chau, the small town of Muong Lay en route from Dien Bien Phu to Sapa has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. On our last research trip it was little more than a huge building site on the edge of a massive artificial lake.

The former town of Lai Chau was perched on the banks of the spectacular Da River valley, but has now been flooded to incorporate the Song Da Reservoir, part of a massive hydroelectricity scheme. The township’s been moved up the riverbank, and an expansive new bridge crosses the newly formed lake. A couple of hotels are open high above the lake, but access was restricted to 4WD vehicles at the time of writing. It’s envisaged that the new body of water will have a future as a tourist centre for boat trips and water sports.