Discover the 'Hidden City' of Laos

Visit Viengxay in north eastern Laos today, and you explore this traditional town and the surrounding beautiful landscape of limestone peaks and forests.

But what you can't see is the fascinating history hidden in these rocky crags - the hundreds of caves which sheltered local people and the country's future leaders for a vital period in world history.

In the 1960s Laos was caught up in the conflict known to the world as the Vietnam War. For nine years, from 1964 to 1973, more than 20,000 people lived in a 'hidden city' they built inside the limestone peaks all around the area to try to survive daily aircraft bombing raids directed by US forces.

They were only able to farm or work at night, so inside the caves they built everything they needed for their society to survive, including schools, hospitals, markets, a radio station and the headquarters of the Lao Patriotic Front - also known as the Pathet Lao.

This site tells the story of the 'hidden city' - through the history that created it and interviews with local people - and how you can visit Viengxay and discover the area's beauty as well as its fascinating hidden history.

You can also find out about the best things to see and do around Houaphanh province and download maps of Viengxay and Houaphanh.

Viengxay in Laos map

[click map to enlarge]

Visiting Viengxay and Houaphan Province

Viengxay is in Houaphanh Province in north eastern Laos - 1 hour east of Sam Neua and 1 hour west of the border crossing to Vietnam.

Find out more about getting to Viengxay and travel to and from Vietnam.

Download maps and a leaflet to help you plan your journey to Viengxay.

Find out more about accommodation and services in Viengxay and in the rural surroundings of Houaphanh province.

Voices of Viengxay oral history interview and archive project owners and sponsors:

Laos - Simply Beautiful LNTA

Viengxay - sustainable development and protecting heritage for the future

This website and the sustainable tourist development of Viengxay is supported by national and international organisations. It was created through a project to research and record the oral history of Viengxay - Voices of Viengxay.

You can hear some of these stories in the new Audio Tour of Viengxay caves - the first ever Audio Tour in Laos.
Listen to extracts of the Audio Tour