Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nong Khiaw

After Luang Prabang, I took a 4 hour songtheaw ride to Nong Khiaw. I can't remember the price, but it cheap because I took it myself from the main bus station. Most guesthouses arrange the same trip for a much higher price which is not worth it since it is the easiest thing in the world to go the bus station and get on that songtheaw by yourself. Anyway, it was so insanely crowded that I'm surprised the vehicle didn't explode. I never knew a songtheaw could fit so many people in the first place! Couldn't take a picture, mostly because my arms were pinned to my sides by the little old Lao ladies who were basically sitting on my lap and holding on to my shoulders for support in order not to get flung out of the vehicle. But they were very smiley and offered me a share of their raw tapioca, so it's okay, I didn't mind.

Nong Khiaw is famous for the scenery from the bridge, and rightly so. Just look at the pics taken by my lousy camera!

Isn't it pretty?!

The moment the sun starts to set, the cameras come out

Seeing a blue river for the first time in my life.. Malaysian rivers are muddy and brown!

The bridge

Little Lao kids who asked me for pens. Sadly I didn't have any :(
You see those little huts on stilts to the left of the above picture? That's the budget accommodation with the nicest views. If I am not mistaken, it was about 50000 kip per night for one of those huts and you even get a hammock on your balcony! But those are snapped up fast. I arrived at 12noon during peak season and they were all fully booked.

I don't know the name of the place I stayed at at Nong Khiaw. It wasn't mentioned in my LP, but it is on the other side of bridge, and you will see it on your right after walking past Deen's restaurant. You can't miss Deen's restaurant in such a small place and let me just say that you can get awesome Indian food and slow internet at Deen's. Internet there was 300kip per minute and when I was there, the only place with internet.

So, my little hut without a view or hammock cost me 40000 kip. But, it had a latch on the door, a nice little veranda with a rickety old school chair to sit on, a small but functioning light bulb on the outside, double bed with mosquito netting and warm blankets, what more could I possibly ask for? The shared bathroom was clean (major plus point!) and upon request the owners would heat up water for your bath over a coal fire, which is the nicest thing any guest house owner has ever offered to do for me, especially since it takes 20 troublesome minutes of heating water over coal in the freezing cold.

The bathroom had no sink or mirror but I made do with my tiny hand mirror. It was actually one of the nicer and most value for money places I stayed at while in Laos. They willingly filled up my water bottle for me with clean water multiple times with a smile, so bonus points there. No pictures, but just imagine a hut (they all look alike) and there you have it! Plus, the lady who gave me my room keys invited me to share her sour mangoes. They eat it by dipping it in some very sour, spicy sauce. Just one bite made my facial muscles go into spasm from the sourness, but it was very sweet of her to share. Lao people love to share food.

 Nong Khiaw struck me as one of those highly evolved tourist towns. There are so many, many grocery shops there.

View from the boat landing
 There are boats to and from Luang Prabang (about 6 hours, pricey at 150000 kip). There are also boats to Muang Ngoi, which was my next destination!

Rooster on the Roof.. at 4pm!

These tractor (???) things look the same in almost every country

Take a last look at the Nam Ou

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