The Lao government has officially opened the sacred and towering limestone cliffs of Phou Pha Thi to visitors. A stark reminder of the Vietnam War, this was the site of the Battle of Phou Pha Thi in 1968, located just 160 miles west of Hanoi. Hidden in the jungle of northeast Laos, the country’s highest peak is simply breathtaking, and the official opening of a steel staircase in March 2018 has made it accessible to all. Where previously only a dirt track road led to the cliffs from Houayma, a new road has been laid making accessibility less of an issue. A new road is also under construction from the wartime Pathet Lao Headquarters of Sam Neua to Houyama.
A new information center marks the start of the staircase, which itself winds several hundred meters up the slope to an army post on a small plateau.