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Idyllically set among beautiful scenery on the banks of the Nam Ou, Muang Ngoi is pretty much a one street village, gets our vote as one of the friendliest places in all of Laos. You won’t find any banks, public internet access or landline telephones, so remember to bring cash and tell your friends and family you’ll be incommunicado. However, given the pace of development around Laos, it is only a matter of time before the modern world arrives in Muang Ngoi.

The best way to get there is an approximate 4 hour mini-bus ride from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw, get a quick taxi down to the harbour and buy a ticket for the incredibly scenic 1.5-hour boat ride by long-tail wood boat.

The only way to get there is by boat, which means everything comes on the boat, even large appliances bought by families in town! Of all our boat trips so far, this one by far is the most memorable. Stunning views, lots of life along the water as we sailed past the limestone karst mountains enjoying the cooling breeze.

We took our speed and pace down in Muang Ngoi. It’s such a welcoming, comfortable little village. There is no shortage of travelers and guesthouses to accommodate them, but somehow we felt on our own most of the trip.

Trekking in Muang Ngoi is excellent. It can be done as a day trip. It is easy to go off on your own and  starts with a village walk to neighboring farms, then climbing up to a lookout high above the town and river. Spend the afternoon exploring caves to cool off from the hot sun.

Most guesthouses now offer trips and activities around Muang Ngoi, as do a few cafés along the main street. Situated on the path up from the boat landing, just beyond Lattanavongsa, Lao Youth Travel offer perhaps the most extensive range of options, from a half-day kayaking trip that includes a stop at a beach and time for a swim to a one-day trek that visits three local villages.

While the locals are genuinely warm and welcoming, they’re also eager to cash in on the tourists flocking to their tiny town. Some locals may persist in offering you their services as a trekking guide, but they’re just as likely to invite you to join them for a game of sepak takraw or petanque.


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