Nong Khiaw- a bumpy ride to the most perfect sunset

After chilling out for several days in Luang Prabang we felt ready for another adventure.So we boarded a minibus for the 3 hour trip to the small town of Nong Khiaw, north-east of Luang Prabang.This place is noted for having splendid limestone karst scenery on the banks of the Nam Ou River,similar to the familiar views of Guilin on the Li RIver in China,or the karst scenery in the South of Thailand.Now you might think that an air-conditioned minibus would be a better choice for the trip than the cheaper non a/c open tuktuk which is called a “bus” here in Laos.Well you might be wrong.Firstly the tuktuk goes slower so the bumps and jolts are not so bad.Secondly the driver didn’t actually turn on the a/c for most of the trip so we sweltered and bumped,and one Australian even bumped his head on the roof at one point in the journey.Anyway we eventually arrived at the “bus station” in Nong Khiaw which is minimalist to say the least.We had been reliably informed by the Indian guy who works at the Indian restaurant in NK who happened to be in the minivan with us that it was only 600 metres from the place we were dropped into town,so we walked it and arrived at the “throbbing” town centre in about 15 minutes as it was starting to rain.The place was tiny but there were many restaurants and guest houses to choose from.We found one named the CT,which had a restaurant, rooms with balcony onto the river and checked in.

Most of our two-day stay in Nong Khiaw consisted of gazing up at the mountains. The view was indescribably beautiful and a bit mesmerising. We could have gone tubing,hiking,bicycling,canoing or caving.Plenty of backpackers were doing just those things.But we were content to lap up the view and relax there.For one thing it’s the rainy season.For another we are lazy,and have done so much travelling over the last 3 years we are enjoying living the moment. So we gazed at the mountains in the morning,when they were swathed in mist.And we gazed at them in the evening when the sunset over the Nam Ou was simply perfect.One night we did this over a splendid curry at our Indian friend’s place.The next evening we did it over a wonderful Chicken Laap and Mango Shake,served by the French-speaking owner of Sunset Bungalows. Now tell me that this isn’t just the perfect romantic spot!

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After two days of musing we returned by tuktuk (less bumpy but this time soaking wet) to our lovely Saynamkhan River View room.The owner had very kindly kept our room for us and our suitcases were there waiting for us. Ahh it’s a hard life in Laos.We revisited the Big Brother Mouse in the evening to meet with more young Lao friends,this time accompanied by a young lawyer from Manchester. She has travelled far and wide,including Africa (Ghana). and most of Central and South America, and is now heading to all the Stans -Turkmenistan and so on.So she was an interesting travel companion.More anon…Please leave comments.

 

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9 thoughts on “Nong Khiaw- a bumpy ride to the most perfect sunset

  1. Steve and I took the slow boat up the Nam Ou toward Nong Kiau (eight hours on a good day). Because it was dry season the water was low with rocks jutting out; the captain navigated the river with great dexterity and knowledge of every rock position. At one point the men (not the dis-empowered women, sadly, myself included) got out to lift/push the boat past one particular dry spot. Shortly after, back on “the road” we hit a rock and the rudder broke. It was fixed by banging it with a stone (rock clearly beats steel). Along the way children played in the water and waved and yelled to get our attention. This boat ride made it clear that people really live on the river. They fish, wash, swim, and travel in it. We entered Nong Kiau just before the sun went down. You are right….It is a very laid back place although most visitors tend to leave the village during the day. For us, it was a perfect place to spend our time watching the river traffic and mountains from our guesthouse balcony.

  2. Makes me want to go there- If we go to Laos, we’ll definitely do that. I love Chicken Laap .. and Mangoe Shakes too ! Super pics.

  3. And I thought Luang Prabang was laid back. This sounds like a truly pleasant interlude in your travels.

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