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Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Kind of Travel : A Wonderful Day in Muang Ngoi


Muang Ngoi
Muang Ngoi, Northern Laos

Yesterday I woke up quite early for a whole-day work event. Prepared my G7 black coffee (Vietnam’s famous coffee) with some cream, no sugar. Opened the sliding door to my veranda and welcomed the morning and the sunlight’s feel on my skin. It rained the day before, but yesterday the sun was starting to show itself, almost half of it was behind the tall condominium near my place. But there was still the cool breeze of the early morning. 

With my hot strong coffee, the cool breeze, and the sun’s warmth, I remember waking up in Muang Ngoi. 

Muang Ngoi is a small riverside village in Northern Laos. I first read about this place through WeAreSoleSisters’ blog and Lois described it as the ‘Sleepiest Town That Trapped Us.’ So when we were in Laos and realized how crowded and expensive Luang Prabang was, we decided to spend a few lazy days in the river villages of Northern Laos - Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi.

Muang Ngoi 2

It’s a really small village where there’s only electricity from 6pm to 9pm. Where children are happy, feisty, and playful. Where the men are out during the day to go fishing, and the women are in their homes taking care of the children or selling food by the road. Where it’s quiet as soon as the sun goes down, and you can find people huddled on the floor of a few houses, having dinner and watching really old tv.

Muang Ngoi 3

As for the tourists and travelers like us, we are pampered and spoiled to find cheap bungalows or rooms by the river and our own hammocks. Where we get to eat buffet-style breakfasts, or sticky rice dishes, and served really good Lao coffee when you wake up – you can either have it pure black or the sweet strong kind, and extra serving of Lao smiles and kindness.

Muang Ngoi 4

Where you can also walk a little north of the village, along the Nam Ou river and find your own spot to enjoy a really nice view of the beautiful flowing river and the limestone formations. If you find yourself there during the summer, you can also enjoy a nice swim. 

Muang Ngoi 5

Muang Ngoi 6

And if you’re up for a few hours of trekking (but really more of walking), you can visit a few more villages. Make a stop for maybe half an hour at the entrance to the Tham Kang Cave and sit by the river. 

Muang Ngoi 7


Muang Ngoi 8


Muang Ngoi 9


And just by lunch time you’ll find yourself in Bana village. Make friends with some of the villagers and play petanque with them. It helped that I was with two French men, so I was able to learn it quick.


Muang Ngoi 10


Walk a bit more to play with really wonderful kids.

Muang Ngoi 11

And to end a day of walking, you look out into the view of the river and the lazy boats, and wait for the sunset by your hammock.

Muang Ngoi 12

And you know that tomorrow you will wake up again with the same wonderful view and relaxed feeling - you welcome the morning with the cool breeze, the sunlight's feel on your skin, and your good Lao coffee.