Luang Nam Tha

4 12 2009

Luang Nam Tha

From Muang Ngoi Neua, we took a six-hour boat ride further up the Nam Ou river to Muang Khau.  The guidebook said this was supposed to be the best part of the river, but we thought the trip from Nong Khiaw up to Muang Ngoi Neua was much nicer.  If we were to do it again, we probably wouldn’t have done this section by boat since we thought it wasn’t as great as the guide book said it was.  Unless you are going onwards to Phongsali, this may not be worth the extra effort.  We were lucky to catch a 3:00 p.m. bus in Muang Khau to Udomaxai.  We spent one night in a guesthouse near the bus station and caught an early bus to Luang Nam Tha.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Muang Ngoi Neua

24 11 2009
On the Nam Ou

On the Nam Ou

We arrived in Muang Ngoi Neua after a very scenic one-hour boat trip from Nong Khiaw.  We had clear blue skies and the river was smooth.  The scenery was really amazing.  Muang Ngoi Neua is accessible only by river, so there are no vehicles and only limited amounts of electricity.  This makes the town very relaxed.  The one main dirt road runs parallel to the river and is very popular with backpackers.  The town has many restaurants catering to travelers, but is a very nice place to spend some time. Read the rest of this entry »





Nong Khiaw, Laos

21 11 2009
Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw

From Luang Prabang we took a slow boat up the Mekong river, and then made a turn up the Nam Ou river.  Before leaving Luang Prabang, we got a bag full of sandwiches and an early morning piece of roast chicken.  Our only regret was not getting more of the excellent roast chicken for our river journey.   We spent a few hours on the boat to get to Nong Khiaw, although you can get there cheaper and quicker by bus,  we were eager to do some river cruising.  We spent a few nice days here before heading further up the Nam Ou to the popular stop of Muang Ngoi Neua. Read the rest of this entry »





Luang Prabang

19 11 2009
Luang Prabang fruit market

Luang Prabang fruit market

We took a long bus ride from Vang Vieng up to Luang Prabang, through some great mountain scenery along a long and winding road. Luang Prabang is further north in Laos on the Mekong River, and was once the capital of Laos. The city has a great mix of Lao temples and French Indochinese villa-style architecture. There is a large street market with excellent food and handicrafts. On the first day we arrived the weather was very hot, but the remaining days were cold and rainy. Read the rest of this entry »





Vang Vieng, Laos

16 11 2009
Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng and the Nam Song river

Going to Vang Vieng is not a part of seeing the “real” Laos. Let us be clear, Vang Vieng is a place for young foreigners to gather with other westerners in order to party and frolic on the river. The big event is to go tubing down the river. OK, this is actually the second biggest thing to do, after going to the riverside bars for the “spring-break” atmosphere and crazy swings along the river. In the past Vang Vieng was also a prime stop for those wishing to ingest “happy shakes” and watch endless re-runs of Friends, but the police have cracked down and so all items “happy” are not as publicly advertised as they may have been in the past. However, Vang Vieng earned its reputation as a tourist mecca because the tranquil river and surrounding countryside of beautiful karst mountains makes for a very nice setting.

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Vientiane, Laos

11 11 2009
Jar of jam?

Jar of jam?

We took a quick flight from Siem Reap to Vientiane ($120) on Lao Airlines (possible motto: It is not as bad as you think). The plane was new and the flight went smoothly. Actually, security at the Cambodian Siem Reap Airport was very thorough.  They carefully went through Alexa’s carry-on bag, even checking her book to see if it hid anything, looked in the pack of cards, and finally took away our tweezers. Read the rest of this entry »