We have a night's gap in our bookings for LP and I was wondering if heading up to Nong Kiau for a night would be worth considering. I know the boat trip is 8ish hours and the return road trip about half that, but I understand the river scenery is beautiful. Unfortunately, we'd have very little time in the village itself...any thoughts?
#1 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86
Nong Kiau is a pretty little spot - love the bridge across the river and scenery is nice. It's worth spending an evening there and the village isn't much to see, so just being there for an evening and a morning isn't a stretch.
If you are settled on taking part of the trip as a river journey, I'd recommend going upriver by bus and then returning by boat - I imagine going with the flow would cut the trip time.
Ditto what casey says -- take the mini-van there and the boat back to optimize on transportation time.
Nong Kiau is lovely and 1 night is enough to soak up the ambiance of the place, though I suspect you'll wish you had more time there.
Thanks so much for the feedback! Now to persuade my husband to sit on a boat for six hours....
#4 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86
Agree, even for one night - worth it.
One consideration, though. It took my wife and I a few days in LP to organise the boat trip as they don't go every day. Most locals go by bus these days. In the end we got a good price, (upriver, back by bus) though only one other couple on the boat. If you are up in Nong Kiaow (how the hell do you spell it ?) you may have to charter the whole boat back to LP for yourselves, which won't be that cheap.
I was at the pier in Nong Kiaow in January, heading north rather than south, but noticed the boat going back to LP had a fair few people on it. I think the charge depends on how many people it has so if you did have to charter the whole boat I seem to remember the figure of 1m kip (c.$100).
Wow, thanks for the info about chartering. The day we would head up to Nong Kiau (sp?) by minivan is 13 December, returning, hopefully by boat, on the 14th. I take it this is the middle of peak season, so hopefully others will want to go. Our plans aren't firm yet, but if anyone has similar dates and interest, feel free to pm me.
#7 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86
Mid-December there should be enough people wanting the boat downriver to make it affordable. It's really the start of high season (mid-Dec to end Feb) but again really doubt you'd have the boat to yourself. And yes even just one night if you have time to explore a bit and catch a sunset from the bridge is worthwhile.
just a note about chartering on the Nam Ou...it has been more than 4 years since USD1 was worth 10,000kip...in late 2006 it had already dropped below the 5-digit mark, now it's worth much less (below 8200). but in Dec 2009 i still saw tourists arguing with the Nong Khiaw boat guys using that old exchange rate they found in a guidebook. the boat guys were asking for USD120 per boat, which was indeed the current equivalent of 1 million kip then (USD1 = 8400+). but those tourists thought they were being fleeced & got rather rude also, do take into account that fuel prices have risen considerably since.
check bcellaos.com for current exchange rates.
& do agree with going to Nong Khiaw by van/bus & returning by boat. you'll reach Nong Khiaw with an afternoon to explore & see the scenery
Thanks again for the replies. Wanderingcat, I was glad to see your photos; I thought things might be quite dry in December, but it still looks green enough. Thanks for the exchange info, too.
#10 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86
Oh yes--I am planning on packing a couple of inflatables!
#12 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86
Place doesn't look like it has much nightlife...
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
A plus? If there is nightlife, and you don't want to go out, you just stay at your place, and no worries. How can a negative be a plus? My wife's village is just DEAD after 7 (except for the dumbass kids on notorcycles) and once in a while I'd like to just go out and listen to a band or hang out in a bar and have a beer - forget it. The nearest bar is over half hour away and nobody ever wants to go (except me of course).
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Just done the boat trip from Nong Khiaw to LP 3 days ago, 14 on the boat, so i dont think youll have to many problems in high season. Leaves at 11am, 100.000 kip per person.
The scenery is worth it, and the cushions do help a lot.
#16 Yol has been a member since 22/6/2010. Posts: 9
Hey there. Im on the same situation as Glomer. Does anyone know at what time the boat departs from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang? Thanks Ill be there on march 12. Hope there are other people catching the boat in that directions. Regards
#17 Bocio has been a member since 5/2/2013. Posts: 1