Phongsaly | Lao Tribune

Phongsaly

(KPL) The famous 400-year-old tea plantation is located about 18 kilometers from Phongsaly Town in the Phunoy ethnic village Ban Komaen, which according to same tea experts has some of the oldest tea trees in the world.

The large root system of the old trees extends deep into the mineral-rich soil and give Phongsaly Tea’ its specific aroma and taste.

The oldest trees stand 6 meters high with a stem up to 30 cm in diameter.

The Tea Pavilion’s exhibition provides a peek into the world of tea, from its legendary beginnings to its production and consumption, and explains how the famous 400-year-old tea is picked and processed by the villagers into tea cigars.

From there, you can take a 1-hour stroll through the ancient plantation: just follow the Tea Trail signs! The trail will lead you to the top of the tea mountain to enjoy the stunning view of Phongsaly and then to the village temple and its unique big-eared Buddha statue.

Ban Komaen makes an ideal 1-day excursion, the relatively flat road passing through more recent tea plantations and offering a superb view of Phongsaly and surrounding mountains.

Town map and mountain bikes to rent (50,000 kip/day) are available at the Tourism Office. A tuktuk can also be organized for you (250,000 to 300,000 kip, dry season only).

Motorcycles can be rented at Amazing Lao Travel. Visitors are asked to make a 5,000 kip contribution to the village fund.

Phongsaly is well known for its colorfully dressed minorities. The population is officially, made up of 28 different ethnic groups, but if we were to count them in the way the people identify themselves there would be more than 40. Many of them came from elsewhere, mostly from China, fleeing wars and famine during the 19th Century.

In Phongsaly Town, the two main ethnic groups are the Phunoy, and the Hor, descendants of the old Yunnan traders.

Thai Dam people are mostly found in Muang Mai district, Yao, Hor and Lolo people in Gnot Ou district.

Many Khmu live in Muang Khua and Samphan district. They are at least 14 different groups of Akha amd related people. Most of their villages are remote up in the mountains, some of them constituting a perfect trekking destination.

Akha people practice spirit worship and several taboos are to be respected in their villages. The museum of Phongsaly Ethnic Groups provides detailed information about the different ethnic groups, their origin and way of life.

Source: Lao News Agency