Village life in the north of Laos

The third loop of Laos, but this time by bus and boat instead of the scooter. From Luang Prabang we visited a couple of little villages, amongst which the ‘bigger’ villages Muang Khua and Muang Ngoi. A trip of 6 days/5 nights, just back in time before New Years! [Note: yes, indeed. That’s 6 months ago already. Not less enjoyable though :)]

Lazy Lao people in Muang Khua
About 9 hours north of Luang Prabang (2 busses of each about 4/5 hours) you’ll find Muang Khua. A village near the Vietnamese/Chinese border. And that’s the main reason there are tourists there. Around 6 pm we arrived, found a good enough guesthouse and went out for dinner. We sat down at a restaurant down the road and asked for the menu. The girl handed the menus and said: “No chicken, only noodle.” Vegetables? She went to the kitchen and came back: “No vegetables.” Rice? “No rice.” Okay, let’s find another place. We went to a hostel with little restaurant owned by a Lao/French couple. The French guy told us that was typically Lao behaviour. When they made enough profit for the day, or they just didn’t want to work anymore, they just tell people – especially tourists – that they ran out of stuff. We figured that, since… what restaurant in Asia doesn’t have rice for heaven sakes!

 

Muang Ngoi
A 4-hour trip in a long tail boat over the Nam Ou river took us to another village: Muang Ngoi. Not much bigger, but with a really nice atmosphere!

 

We stayed in a place with a great view on the river. I forgot the name of the place, but it was directly left when you walked up the stairs from the boat. The little village exists of only one main street with some little side roads. We had a (happy hour!) cocktail at one of the restaurants were we met a German couple. They convinced us to have dinner at their guesthouse, because it was the best noodle soup ever. Who can say no to that! Unfortunately this evening the daughter was probably cooking since it wasn’t that good 😉 still enjoyed it a lot.
The next day we walked about 20k to a couple of tiny villages around. And when I say tiny, it really is tiny. Maximum of 100 people if I must guess with pigs, chickens, buffalos, dogs and cats living side by side with everyone else. The walk was really beautiful. No words, just pictures. Although we almost couldn’t walk anymore, we went to the restaurant a lady recommended the day before: the restaurant all the way at the end of the street ;). We did, and it was definitely worth it! I think it was called Bee Tree.

 

After the long walk we did nothing the next day. Just chilling before we continued the trip in the boat up to Muang Khiaw on the 31st of December. We wanted to celebrate New Years in Luang Prabang, where we already booked a hostel. Romain was on another boat since everyone wanted to be on the first boat. I was already sitting and Romain was like ‘Whatever, they both go there so I’ll just take the other one. Probably less crowded’. Where we started off together, after 30 minutes we lost track of them. After we arrived it still took an hour before they showed up: the boat broke down. The bus to Luang Prabang was already gone and it was the last one of the day they told me, so I thought we were stuck in the middle of nowhere for New Years… But as I’ve learned while traveling in these kind of places: never just belief people on their words. Let’s wait and see and we’ll only know for sure when we checked at the bus station ourselves. And luckily we did! There was still one bus going to the capital. The guy that told me probably thought to make a little extra money so he could take us. Not today mate! We made it in time and had a great New Years 🙂 🙂

 

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