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Nong Khiaw

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(updated listing New Bank in Nong Khiaw)
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Some restaraunts offer slow wifi internet connections.
Some restaraunts offer slow wifi internet connections.
New Hotel opening in Summer 2012 in Nong Khiaw.  Called ViewPoint Laos up on the mountain overlooking the small rustic village.
==Get out==
==Get out==

Revision as of 13:55, 21 March 2012

Nong Khiaw (Nong Kiau or Nong Kiew) is a rustic little town on the bank of the Ou River in Laos. It is squeezed in between some of the most fantastic limestone mountains to be found north of Vang Vieng.

Many travellers pass through on the way up river to the even more isolated Muang Ngoi, but Nong Khiaw has a plenty of charm, a decent range of accommodation, plus conveniences like 24 hour electricity and a connection to the road network for those interested in exploring the surrounding area.

Get in

Nong Khiaw is 3-4 hours via the road or 6-7 hours by boat from Luang Prabang along the Mekong and Ou River. Boat travel is by far the most spectacular but more costly.

Local travel information

Boats on the Nam Ou: To Muang Ngoi the public boats leaves around 11.00 A.M. and around 2.00 P.M. The price at the moment is 20.000 K. (might change if not enough people in the boat) Private boats run for about 300.000-400.000 Kip one way, cheaper if the person driving needs to go anyway. Speedboat (30 min. only) cost return 400.000 and is more dangerous but quite fun actually! To Luang Prabang Public boats are not so common but normally start at 11-12 A.M. The road offers a much faster way to go but less interesting. A private boat down to Luang Prabang (6-7 hours) would cost about 1 to 1.3 Million Kip. It’s recommended to get a small group together and share the cost as the trip is worth it. You can leave your name at the boat station! If it runs like a public boat you are supposed to pay around 150.000 Kip per person (4 times the price of a public Minivan) In high season there are normally enough people to go. Speedboat to LPB costs 1 Million Kip and takes 2.5 hrs. (up to 6 persons)

Further on the Nam Ou to Muang Khua The boats leave around 11.00 AM if there are enough people to fill it. A charter cost about 1.1 Million Kip. and takes about 6 hours. Visit the boat landing and pass by a few times to check if there are some/enough people signed up. Speedboats to Muang Khua costs 1 Million Kip and takes only 2.5 hours. Especially the part north of Muang Ngoi is extremely picturesque and worth visiting/cruising through. You can do that also with a day cruise from Muang Ngoi in a small boat.

Remember: In Laos even the public transportation is mostly privately owned and drivers stand in a queue to grab the next job/drive. So if there is no profit, they won’t go!! If travelling alone you might find yourself waiting for the next boat or busload of people to turn up.

Buses from Nong Khiaw: The bus/minivan station in Nong Khiaw is on the edge of town on the western side of the river.

To Luang Prabang and Udomxay run daily at around 9 & 11. A.M. price 40.000 K. 4 hrs.+ - To Luang Prabang by Minivan leaving at changing hours and costs 50.000 K. p.p. To Luang Namtha you have to take the bus to Udomxay and than change the bus which gives you a quite late arrival in Luang Namtha. It cost 40.000 K. to Udomxay To Muang Khua or Phongsali you need to go to Udomxay (11. A.M.) as well, change bus To Vieng Thong and Sam Neua (near Viengxay and Vietnam border) the bus starts originally from Luang Prabang and you have to be on call around 12.30 +!

The buses run hardly ever on time. Buy your ticket in advance and leave your name! Private minivan to Luang Prabang can cost as low as 500.000 K. especially if drivers have empty returns (no stops unless you want it!)

Get around

Nong Khiaw is simple in layout and small enough to walk around. It's possible to rent a bike at the Riverside Bungalows and Delilah's to explore the 2 roads and surrounding area.

A large concrete road bridge connects Nong Khiaw on the western side of the river with the village of Ban Sop Houn on the eastern side of the river, where many of the river-view bungalows are found.


Since Tiger Trail has opened their tour office in Nong Khiaw there is suddenly something more to see. They will bring you out for various trips, hikes, river tours, bamboo raft workshop, village stay. A Must see is the newly discovered 100 waterfalls jungle hike which made it already into a TV-Show. It was discovered in 2008! Daily tours seem to run with min. 2 persons. It gets more affordable with 3-5 people joining. Some of the tours seem to be visible online. [1]

  • Pha Tok Caves, (about 2km outside town on the far side of the river from the boat landing and bus station). This cave set high in a limestone cliff sheltered villagers and Pathet Lao fighters during the Second Indochina war. The caves are accessed via steep concrete steps, and inside a few signs identify points where command posts were stationed. Entrance fees are collected at the bottom where you can also borrow a torch. The trail to the cave passes through many rice paddies and a small section of jungle. If you ask the people at the "ticket desk", you should be able to arrange a boat ride back to Nong Khiaw from a local. For 2 people in the very small canoe type longtail boats that can seat max 2 people plus driver the price was 50,000 kip. Our boat driver was 19 years old offered to take us 20 minutes up river to the next village, and then back to Nong Khiaw for 70,000 kip total. 5000 kip.


Walk around the village enjoying the village feel with great views over the Nam Ou river.

Walk the dirt road behind the Riverside resort for some scenic views and nature.

Rated one of the best hikes in Laos is the is the "100 Waterfalls" trek operated by Tiger Trail and Fair trek initiative [2] [3] Some of thier treks go to the interactive culture lodge.

Go rock climbing or abseiling with Nong Kiau Climbing [4] from Green Discovery's office. Kayaking, cycling and trekking also possible.

Rent a mountain bike and push eastwards to remote Khmu and Hmong villages. Riverside Guest House rents mountain bikes for 50'000 and City bikes for 10'000.

Go for a herbal steam bath or massage at Sabai Sabai


The few small shops on the main street cater more for locals than tourists, and offer little more than basic necessities.

There is no ATM in Nong Khiaw. Money can be changed near the boat landing - Youth travel agency or over the Bridge at Riverside Guest House. Riverside can also offer cash advances on credit cards.

  • New Bank in Nong Khiaw. On March 16, 2012 a new bank opened on the main street in Nong Khiaw. Good exchange rates. Traveller's cheques accepted. And as of 2pm that day, an ATM was operational in front of the bank. Another ATM coming soon in front of Riverside bungalows.


  • Delilah's, (on the main street just before the bridge). Offers a selection of everything home made including ice cream, bread, soups and salads. No MSG or additives used. Laos western fusion cuisine with a creative twist. Free WiFi access for customers.
  • CT Bakery, (next to the bridge on the opposite side of the river from the bus station and boat landing). offers fine views from its riverside terrace and WiFi access. Lao coffee here is particularly good.
  • Sunset Restaurant. Reasonable prices for the food, and river view
  • Vinag Restaurant.
  • Sengdao Restaurant.
  • Deen restaurant, (100m after the bridge on the right), (856-20)2148895. Indian- lao , very good food, and WiFi access.
  • Sabai Sabai, ((In front of the Wat)). A selection of Local Laos foods in a nice atmospheric setting.


Cold Beer Laos are served everywhere in local restaurants. The small shops sell cheap but decent Lao Lao in unlabeled bottles, probably homemade.

  • Coco Home Bar & Restaurant. 8am - 10:30pm. Bar & restaurant serving authentic Thai and Western dishes by Thai chef. Full range of cocktails, mixers and shots. Movies shown at 8am, 12pm & 6pm everyday on big balcony with river-mountain views. Two raised chill out huts and a comfy hideaway inside. Free WIFI, satellite TV, message board, and blankets available all night!



For a comprehensive and up to date list of guesthouses, see the HoboMap here:

  • Meexai Bungalows - cheap guesthouse on the eastern side. Has free WiFi access. Bungalows were 70,000 in Feb 2012 and the WiFi was not working. Prices everywhere seemed much higher than listed here, with 70,000 being about the lowest. Friendly owner.
  • Nam Houn Guesthouse - guesthouse on the eastern side
  • Sunrise Bungalows, (Next to the bridge on the eastern side). Solidly-built wooden bungalows with hammocks offer great river views, although the attached bathrooms are rather primitive. Run by a very friendly older couple, they are never to shy for a short chat. 30,000 to 60,000 kip.
  • Sunset Guesthouse - is also on the eastern side. Basic rooms at 50,000 kip, bungalows with private bath at 150,000 kip. Food quality varies depending on who is making it.

Mid range

  • Nong Kiau Riverside [5] - Along the river on the eastern side. The best upmarket choice featuring big bungalows with kettle, private balcony, deckchairs and bathroom overlooking the river. Rooms at 240,000 (single)- 290,000 kip including breakfast (eggs, baguette, jam, fruits, tea/coffee). Internet (chargeable), mountain bikes and food available.


Some restaraunts offer slow wifi internet connections.

New Hotel opening in Summer 2012 in Nong Khiaw. Called ViewPoint Laos up on the mountain overlooking the small rustic village.

Get out

North of Nong Khiaw one hour by boat one finds Muang Ngoy Kao or Old Muang Ngoi, a backpackers favorite with no road access and electricity and a real village feel. Also see the GET IN section for more information.

By bus

the bus station is located on the west part of Nong Khiaw – 10 m' walk from the bridge/ boat landing.

  • a bus to Udomxai 2 times a day 40,000 Kip 3-4 hours
  • a bus to Luang Prabang 3-4 a day 40,000 Kip
  • a bus to Sam Neua 1 a day (11:30 )takes 10-11 hours 130,000 kip

Minivan service is also easily arranged through a local, who speaks English well, named Mong. Ask any of the expats or restaurant owners and they can give you his phone number. A trip to Luang Namtha was 160,000 kip each person and took about 6-7 hours. It seemed that he would be willing to drive just about anywhere.

By Boat

You can take a boat to Luang prabang, the travel takes 5 hours and costs 110,000 Kip, tickets are bought at an office near the boat landing ( near the bridge )

Boats that go up the river to Muang Ngoi Neua leave regularly until 3 Pm –takes 1 hour costs 20,000 Kip. Some of the boats continue to Muang Khua

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