kids playing akha tribe village laos

Trek to Akha Hill Tribe Village – Laos

A couple of days hiking between hill-tribe villages on the Laotian-Chinese border, staying in a village of the Akha people.

black and white kids playing in akha hill tribe village laos
Kids play in village, morning mist shrouding the hills beyond.

I went with a local guide and a Swiss backpacker to stay overnight, eat and drink lots of lao-lao – a strong clear spirit – as the locals gathered around in a dimly-lit hut to drink – get really drunk, and sing traditional songs.

Drinking Lao-Lao during the evening.

This particular Akha village in Laos had just opened to tourism and the people were very fresh to foreigners (in 2008).

Portrait of elderly Akha tribal woman with basket
Portrait of elderly Akha tribal woman wearing traditional clothing.

Travel Advice: Visiting a remote Akha Village in Northern Laos

I arranged a local guide in the town of Muang Sing in northern Laos, not far from the Chinese border.

Young Akha tribe girl carrying her sister on her back.

Costs will vary but $US 20 per day should cover everything, including meals and a local home stay.

Expect hot, humid weather for most of the year, so drink plenty of water and take a water purification filter with you.

Ahka kids in remote village stare at the foreigner
Kids in remote village stare at the foreigner.

And travel light, a daypack is enough for the few days.

Probably best to avoid the rainy season; mosquitoes were not problem during my visit, but still pack repellent – just in case.

Hiking to Akha villages in this area is not strentious; rather a meandering clamber over gentle hills and farmland.

Young Akha kids in remote, northern Laos village
Young Akha kids in remote, northern Laos village.

History of the Akha People

The Akha’s history involves a long migration from the Tibetan Plateau passing thru Yunnan during the 16th and 17th centuries and settling in Northwest Laos (they also settled in the north of Thailand and Vietnam).

They fled China/Tibet, it’s believed, to escape political rebellions and criminal gangs stealing livestock and plundering their villages.

Source and for more cultural information on the Akha Hill-Tribe.

Early morning activity in Akha hill tribe village in Laos
Early morning activity in Akha hill tribe village in Laos.

Travels in Laos – 2008


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