Today I’m sharing the experience of traveling from the hub town of Muang La to the much loved Muang Ngoi. This is part of series of posts about a 10-day tour around the north – coming from Luang Prabang to Oudomxai, Muang La, Muang Ngoi, Nong Khiaw, Muang Hiam, Xam Neua, Viengxai, Phonsavan and back to Luang Prabang.
Our day started with a short walk from the guesthouse down to the river to get the boat we had booked earlier.
The boat trip down the Nam Ou (Nam means River in Lao) was relaxing and full of many sights. We travelled a total of 68km starting at 9.30 and arriving Nong Ngoi at 1.45pm. We changed boats at the dam bu exiting the boat and getting a tuk-tuk (30,000kip for 4 people) and getting in another boat. The second boat was a lot noisier but bearable. Along the way, we spotted a fisherman and the boat driver stopped to negotiate and buy a fish, 50,000 kip[ per kg – a good price.
30 mins before Muang Ngoi is a small village called Ban Sop Jam nestled up against a perfect limestone mountain backdrop. It is well-known for weaving with many families having weaving looms at the front of their houses. The village has one street running through the centre of it making for an easy and very interesting walk. Children are likely to wave out to you and locals smile as you walk past the many scarves and items for sale. It is a great place to purchase. Prices are very reasonable and you can negotiate a little.
We arrived at Muang Ngoi (sometimes spelled Muang Ngoy) and stayed at the Ning Ning guesthouse. Another great place to stay is the Lattanavongsa guesthouse next door (they have river view rooms and garden rooms, that were renovated in 2020). We heard up to Nicksa’s Place guesthouse to have lunch. During July 2020 in the middle of COVID lockdown, there were only two places open to eat, Ning Ning and Nicksa’s Place.
If you have time early afternoon, get out of Muang Ngoi and walk to Tham Kang Cave. The walk takes about 30 mins. The water is so clear you can easily see the many fish swimming.
Later in the afternoon about 5pm, we walked the 5 mins to the entrance of the Phanoi Viewpoint, one of 3 viewpoints in Muang Ngoi. Even during COVID ticket sellers are out and after our 10,000 kip entrance fee, we passed by coffee trees along the flat to the start of the 1-hour walk up to the viewpoint. It is great to see that the fees collected go to the upkeep of the trails, it was in excellent condition. The hike up was easily doable by the average person and the views were stunning. If you are terrified of rights and the odd narrow track then this may not be for you. In the evening we ate at the other open restaurant, Ning Ning which was a lovely place to eat. We booked through Tiger Trail Travel and we got excellent service from the owner.
For any enquiries and information contact Tiger Trail Travel who’s friendly staff would be delighted to help you plan your trip.