Sam Neua, a small town at 1200 meters high, is the capital of Houaphan province in northeastern Laos.
Residents are mostly Lao, Vietnamese and Hmong, along with some Tai Dam, Tai Daeng and Tai Lu. The predominant language is Lao; French is still spoken by a minority of people as a legacy of the French colonial era and is learnt by younger populations and used in public works and government.
Trading activities are mainly between surrounding villages, especially the consumer goods imported from China and Vietnam. There are mainly textiles, silver jewelry such as bracelets or rings and objects of all kinds.
Around Sam Neua and Hua Phan Province are many interesting sites. You might be interested in visiting the Independence Monument, Suan Hin or Hinh Tang, mysterious archaeological park containing huge megaliths and recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO. You can also make a beautiful walk to the Ban Tham Buddha Cave.