18.07.2013 - 20.07.2013 35 °C
We arrived in the sleepy riverside village of Nong Khiaw around lunch time on Thursday. It was a bumpy yet short three hour drive from Luang Prabang. Our first impressions of the place were good, we were dropped off at a tiny bus station and had to walk around 2km to the guesthouses that are situated on the river Ou that runs through the village. The locals all watched us a we made our way, we noticed that there was very little catering for tourists, a welcome change after the tourist haven of Luang Prabang.
When we got nearer the river we could see the selection of guesthouses that hug the river bank. All the tourist amenities (and there are not that many) are situated on the opposite side of the river to the main village. There is a small bridge to cross and then you can take your pick from a dozen or so places to stay. Most offer bungalows along the river, and a very nice man called us over as soon as we crossed the bridge to see his bungalows. Compared to the bungalow we stayed in on Koh Phayam it is luxury. It is a lot bigger, mainly sealed with a comfortable bed and a balcony overlooking the river, complete with hammock. The man offered it us for 50000 kip, the price being cheaper due to the low season and we accepted.
Once settled in we went to explore our particular side of the river, there is not much there apart from the guesthouses, a handful of restaurants and a couple of tour groups offering treks. We called in a restaurant for something to eat and a beer and sat admiring the view of the large green rocky hills that surround the village. It is amazing scenery, especially when it rains and the clouds and mist come low around the hills.
In the evening we went out for a meal and we had the restaurant to ourselves. although we have seen other tourists walking around they are few and far between compared every where else we have been in Laos. We imagine though this has a lot to do with the time of year looking at all the guesthouses there is for such a small place. In high season the place must be completely over run by tourists. Our meal was great and cheap, afterwards we took a bottle of beer Lao back to enjoy on our balcony.
Since yesterday however Chelsea has been ill (we do not know what is up with us) so our exploring has been put on hold. Liam has been out a couple of times for supplies and something to eat whilst Chelsea has remained in the room. Luckily with the window open she can still see the view. She has improved today so we are hoping to go for a walk, if not we can spend another night or two here, explore and relax.
Our plan from here, is to catch a boat and go up river to another village Muang Ngoi, apparently an even sleepier village, spend maybe one or two nights there before carrying on up river to Muang Khua, the town from which we catch the bus to take us across the border in to Vietnam. We will be entering Vietnam on the 25th so have plenty of time to slowly make our way to the border.