Welcome to Udomxai
Booming Udomxai (ອຸດມໄຊ; also known as Muang Xai) is a Laos–China trade centre and crossroads city, and with its cast of migrant truck drivers and Mandarin signage at every turn it certainly feels like it. The dusty, brash main street and lack of a traveller vibe puts off many short-term visitors, and you might think the highlight is the bus that spirits you out of here; however, it takes minimal effort to find the real Laos nearby. The well-organised tourist office – one of the best in the country – has many ideas to tempt you to stay longer, from cooking courses to treks through ethnic villages, ziplining and cycling.
Around 15% of Udomxai's population is Chinese (with many more transient workers), and the Yunnanese dialect is as common as Lao in some businesses and hotels.