Muang Sing is located in the centre of a flat, triangular plain surrounded on all sides by high mountains. The Nam Youan River flows down to the plain from China, and numerous other streams water the valley. Scores of hill-tribe settlements are located both in the valley basin and all through the surrounding mountains; ethnic groups in the region include Tai Leu, Tai Dam, Akha, Mien, Hmong and others.

A number of places along the main road now offer a range of treks in the area – it pays to shop around before putting your name down for anything, and make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for (and paying for) in advance. At quieter times of year, you will probably find that what trek you do is dependent on what other people are signed up for – prices reduce according to the number of people on a trip – though if you can get a group of four or more people together in advance you’re options will be a lot more open.

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