Welcome to Sam Neua
While Sam Neua (ຊຳເຫນືອ; Xam Neua) is something of a nostalgic Soviet oddity, with its well-spaced concrete modernity, spartan communist monument and old boys with Muscovite hats, the real draw is the stunning countryside in which it sits. The town is a logical transit point for visiting nearby Vieng Xai or catching the daily bus to Vietnam, and remains one of Laos' least-visited provincial capitals. It is perched at an altitude of roughly 1200m, so some warm clothes are advisable in the dry winter period, at least by night and until the thick morning fog burns off. From April to October the lush landscapes are contrastingly warm and wet.
The eye-widening, photogenic produce markets here are worth visiting for the colourful ethnic diversity on display.