The North of Laos


by Andrew Curtis, New Zealand (Oct 08)

Global Mark : 14.61

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


4 5 4 4 4 4 3 1 3 14.22

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
6 100% 66% 100% 15 15

Description :
A great tiny town, with so few tourists and such friendly locals offering Lao Lao. Stopping point before going to Vietnam or taking boat south..

What to do ? Walk across the bridge, chat to locals and drink Lao Lao… see what time buses leave for Vietnam and when the border is open… find the German guy there and explore the hills with him….many villages are not used to foreigners still!! They are about to open up the area for trekking so getting in there now and you will still be a relatively `new’ phenomenon

What you may not like ? The cost of the boat or thought of back tracking if no one to share a boat with.

Where to stay ? 4 choices all pretty much the same…. Though best view and reasonable price is Nam Ou GH – go down to the river and look back up it looks over the river and is very obvious. Hot shower, all types of rooms from 2USD to 5USD…LOTS of info about trekking etc and wicked wicked view.

Where to eat ? At your hotel is as good a place as any, there are a few stalls scattered around the place so worth giving them a go.

What to see/visit ? Talk to people at …..GH they know a school teacher/guide (who lives across the bridge and to the right) who speaks good English who can take you on a guided walk (though I do not know how much money goes back into the communities you caution there!) with him or get him to point you in the right direction. Find the German guy who is there for 2 years (started in May 2008) he is working for the EU and whose job it is to survey all the trails in the area and begin to set them up for trekking. Just wander around, smile at locals and see if they smile back and offer you some Lao Lao (buy a bottle to share…it’s the same price as beer)

Internet ?  We did not find internet there…. You are right out in the middle of nowhere.

Leave ? To Udom Xai: 2USD, Local Bus, 2-4 hours, 2/3 per day…leave once over full
To Muang Ngoi: 800 000kip (100 USD) for entire boat, 4 hours, In the morning if full or for the right price
Note with this boat we hired the whole thing for 800 000kip… which was probably a bit too much but with 4 to share between we really wanted to do the boat trip…. If thinking about it, put your haggle face on, check to see if the boatman lives in Muang Kwa or Muang Ngoi (if M.N. then you should be able to get a good price as he would have made good money for trip up river) and just do your best…it’s a great trip and if the right number of people well worth it!!!!



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