A local transport hub 41km west of Phongsali, Boun Neua (ບຸນເໜືອ) is a diffuse scattering of mostly newer concrete houses that has been tentatively proposed as the unlikely new provincial capital. Staying here might prove handy if connecting to Ou Tai or for those doing the Phongsali 'Jungle Trek'.
After Boun Neua (Km 41) the road to Phongsali climbs onto a ridge-top road surveying swaths of protected mountain forests. There's a signed viewpoint 500m past Km 31, with ridge-top panoramas continuing for the next 15km. Baka Luang (200m beyond Km 17) is the first noticeably Phu Noi village en route, where old women still wear distinctive Phu Noi leggings.