Muang Sing still holds a unique place in my memory. This is not only for the news I received just prior to arriving, nor the stray people I met in the town. There was something about the locale itself. At the time, it was the furthest I had ever gone and it was the first truly small Asian town I had been exposed to. Surin may have served as a dry introduction, but I felt I was thrown all-in in the mountainous fringes of Muang Sing.
By no means is it the most gorgeous or exciting place in the world. And admittedly, I only explored the town when there was a vast area of hiking and nearby villages to explore. However, it was a tangibly old place, contained still within its dilapidated city walls. There was something about the atmosphere of people simply going about their daily business, acknowledging a traveller but still indifferent to them, near the looming edges of the giant that is China . . . this may well be the closest thing I have yet seen to the frontier.