Muang Ngoi Neua is a small riverside village in Northern Laos with no permanent electricity and no road access. In the last few years it has become part of the Banana Pancake Trail with rapid construction of tourist infrastructure in response to the increasing influx of visitors. Nevertheless, it remains a low-key destination in a stunning location. Interesting treks can also be done to tribal villages in the area.
As of February 2013, there is now a new road connection to Muang Ngoi. Daily bus service between Luang Prabang and Muang Ngoi started in February 2013.
It is still possible (and recommended) to take the 1-hour public boat from Nong Khiaw (daily 11:00 and 14:00, 25.000 kip) or Muang Khua (daily 08:30, 110.000 kip) or charter one in Luang Prabang.
See & Do
Traditional Herbal Sauna - at the end of the main walk last street to the right. Free tea, hot shower included, 15,000 kip run buy a lao woman and her swedish husband. Open in beginning of Dry season.
Nam Ou Beach - At the end of the dry season when water is low, take a cool splash in the Nam Ou or sip from a cocktail on a bamboo stretcher
Phetdavanh Book Exchange - Change your old books for new ones at this 2 for 1 book exchange with more than 300 titles.
Tham Kang cave and Tham Pha Kaew cave - north of town, about 50 minutes by foot and can be found without a guide. From the main street, turn the second street left, cross the wooden bridge and soccer field and continue straight. These caves used to be a bomb shelter during the Vietnam War era. Entrance 5000 kip. Continue past the caves for about 45 minutes to reach Ban Na village for lunch.
Visit surrounding villages, Bana, Huay Bo, and Huay Sen. To Bana, walk ~30min past Tham Kang cave. It'll be on the left hand side across the rice fields. To Huay Bo, you'll need to walk another 20min past Bana by going across the river. (Tip: to Huay Bo, follow the sign to Konsavan Guesthouse that'll lead you across the river). There are guest houses in all 3 villages, costing 5,000kip to 15,000kip for a bungalow.
Ning Ning Restaurant - Left of the Boatlanding stairs take the path passing the boat office. Big open-air terrace overlooking the Nam Ou, best view in town. Open all year.
Lattanavongsa Restaurant - Immediately left of the Boatlanding. Solid and clean. Boasts big wooden balcony and marble table seats on the grass. Open all year.
Aloune Mai - Located halfway through the mainstreet on the right hand. Good Lao food and cold beer Lao.
Vita Restaurant - Located after Aloune Mai on the right hand off the mainstreet, tucked away close to the river. Balcony overlooking the Nam Ou.
Sky Bar - Located in the middle of the town. Open in Dry Season (December - March)
Cave View Restaurant, (Across bamboo bridge from Tham Khan cave). Very quaint setting on the river/stream. Food and bevs, petang square, friendly and fun owners. Owner also has high-quality scarves at reasonable prices that she makes herself on site! Great place. Open when there are customers - definitely in high season Nov to Feb. Just pop in if you are at the cave anyway!
Cheap Cheap Room - If you are after a very cheap room then ask some of the people running the restaurants, even if they don't have signs saying 'guesthouse' etc. It is possible to get double rooms for as little as 20,000 kip per night that way.
Phetdavanh Guesthouse & Bungalows - Newly built bungalows with private bathroom to the far left of the boat dock with comfy beds and superb view over the river. 50.000 kip off high-season. Offers 24 hour electricity generated from a nearby waterfall and has a big book collection in the Guesthouse on the main street.
Ning Ning Bungalows - Clean wooden bungalows overlooking the Nam Ou.
Lattanavongsa I & II - Upmarket choice. Hardwood bungalows with bathroom inside, nice garden and good restaurant. on the main street as well as close to the river. 100.000 kip + a night.
Saylom Bungalows - Right of the boatlanding, simple bungalows with hammock. Lao owner speaks French. 50.000 kip a night.
Rainbow Guesthouse - Recently built 3-story concrete building, easily visible from the river, tallest building in town. 50.000 kip a night.
Riverside Bungalows - Perched left of Rainbow guesthouse, Riverside offers wooden bungalows and a hammock balcony overlooking the Nam Ou. *Warning* recent reports concerning theft and sexual harassment by the owners.
Niksa's Bungalows - Halfway down main road, on the right, Niksa's has riverside bungalows with attached bathroom, and two hammocks for each bungalow. Friendly staff. Seems to be one of the best budget options. 30,000 kip low season (June 2012).
A torch is almost essential if you plan to be out after the electricity cuts out around 9pm.
Take the public boat to Nong Kiau (every day 9.30am 25.000 kip) or charter a boat to Muang Khua or Luang Prabang. It is also possible to make a one day trek or kayak back to Nong Kiau.
Although there is a sign at the boat office in Muang Ngoi indicating that there is no scheduled boat to Muang Khua, and the local boat operators in Muang Ngoi will insist that there is no scheduled boat going north to Muang Khua. This is actually a lie (presumably to encourage unnecessary charters). As of February 2013 there is a boat leaving Nong Khiaw at 11:00 daily that stops in Muang Ngoi at 12:00 daily, continuing to Muang Khua. Actual departure times seem to be ~30 minutes late on an average day. The fare is 110,000 kip from Muang Ngoi (or Hod Sa Pheuy) to Muang Khua.