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Transport from Nong Khiaw to Luang Namtha

Posted by lakyw on 26/8/2010 at 16:32

I'm going on a trip to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang in mid September. I have a dilemma in which route to travel. I would very much want to visit Nong Khiaw and Luang Namtha, and doing some trekking in both areas. The problem is, I'll be leaving Luang Prabang at the 21st of September and I absolutely have to be at Houay Xay at the 28th. This doesn't leave much time to visit both places. So I have a some of questions:

1. Is it reasonable to visit both Nong Khiaw, Muang Ngoi and Luang Namtha in that time?
2. For those who've been to both places, which of them would you recommend for trekking?
3. Is there a reliable mode of transportation from Nong Khiaw to Luang Namtha or Nong Khiaw to Houay Xay.
4. Same question goes for Luang Namtha to Houay Xay.

Thanks in advance.

#1 lakyw has been a member since 5/8/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by wanderingcat on 26/8/2010 at 23:17

3. no direct bus.
[ul][li]there's supposed to be a daily Nong Khiaw > Oudomxay songthaew, but have heard of tourists being asked to pay more than the usual Oudomxay > Nong Khiaw fare (maybe cos too few passengers on that day?); from Oudomxay there are a few buses to Luang Namtha per day.
[/li][li]there's also transport from Nong Khiaw to Pak Mong (incl the Nong Khiaw > Luang Prabang minivans); at Pak Mong just wait for an Oudomxay-/Luang Namtha-bound bus to pass through & hop/squeeze on.[/li][/ul]4. yes.

use the info here as a guide to work out the connections.

#2 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
 Where has wanderingcat been?   Website 

Posted by Pjotra on 27/12/2011 at 05:53

Indeed, the guy that runs the busstation in Nong Khiaw ( 1.5 k outside the village) is asking up to double the price for any connection, puts 18 ( eighteen) people in a songthaw, and then even quarrels with the driver about what his share is. We refused to pay , so he phoned the driver ofbthe Xam Neua bound bus to skip the station, us being the sole pax and the bus drove on without stopping. I fear there is only one way to get anywhere from NK, andbthat is, pay the extortion ( or maybe better, shoot the guy in the head)

#3 Pjotra has been a member since 17/7/2009. Posts: 37

Posted by arodin on 18/1/2015 at 20:04

My wife and I were in Nong Khiaw in December 2014 and were traveling to Prabang. We were told that taking a boat to Prabang is amazing, so we had our hearts set on that, but read a lot of recent posts across the internet about how this became difficult/impossible as a result of a newly built dam. The dam IS there, and it does complicate things, so here are the options as of Dec 2014 to get from Nong Khiaw to Prabang:

-Public bus which runs until 1pm (as of Dec 2014)

You can also pay to charter one of the following (via a tour company in town or via Nong Khiaw Riverside hotel):
-Boat to the dam (3 hours), then tuktuk across the dam, then boat to Prabang (another 3 hour boat, total ~6hours)
-Boat to the dam (3 hours), then 1hour taxi to Prabang (4 hours total)
-Taxi to the dam (1 hour), then 3 hour boat to Prabang (4 hours total)
-Taxi direct from Nong Khiaw to Prabang (~3 hours)

If you're trying to decide if it's worth it to do one of the chartered boat/tuktuk/boat options to Prabang just as a way to experience the river, I'd instead strongly recommend what my wife and I did: 1) charter a boat (or join a small tour) for a day trip up-river from Khiaw to visit other villages along the river, hike to some other waterfalls, and see some caves. It's a fabulous way to see the landscape of the area and to experience the river and the locals who live off of it (people fishing etc). 2) Then just take a van from Nong Khiaw to Prabang (~3 hours for $80-$100) at 3 or 4pm and you'll be in Prabang by dinner time. It worked great.

#4 arodin has been a member since 18/1/2015. Posts: 3

Posted by SoManyMiles on 16/3/2015 at 03:54 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Yes, the dam on the Nam Ou makes the journey by boat from Nong Kiaw to Luang Prabang quite expensive as you have to privately hire a combination of boat/ground transportation, as outlined above.

If you want to journey on the Nam Ou River, either take a boat from Muang Khua down to Nong Kiaw (full day journey) or as mentioned by arodin, do a day trip on the Nam Ou from Nong Kiaw:

#5 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 62

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