Hello, I will be in Luang Prabang in July this year and hope to travel to Sapa inVietnam overland and incorperating a river trip on the Nam Ou between Nong Khiaw and Muang Khua . Has anybody done this at this time of year before? Does anyone know how frequently the boats run? Also, if anyone could tell us the condition of the roads after Muang Khua it would be greatly appreciated. We are in our fifties and travelling outside of Australia for the first time and any information would be a great help. Thankyou.
#1 pjc57 has been a member since 24/3/2011. Posts: 4
Nong Khiaw- Muang Khua boats run on a demand basis. the boat driver has to earn the equivalent of 10-14 passengers' worth of fares (120,000kip/pax in 2009). if there aren't enough passengers, no departure unless passengers are willing to pay more to make up for the shortfall.
currently the Muang Khua - Dien Bien Phu road is still under reconstruction on the Lao side. not sure how things will be like in July. getting harder & harder to predict the weather, things are no longer following the usual patterns & becoming more extreme.
recent photos when the area was receiving an abnormal amount of rain (& even snow on the Vietnam side) in March 2011 - usually the driest & coming to hottest time of the year:
in other parts of northern Laos temperatures dropped to single digit degree Celsius at night - when it's usually above 20'C in March.
earlier in the current dry season (Jan 2011):
http://koalaland.ageover.de/?attachment_id=2642 (at one of the places where there is no bridge yet)
I travelled a large part of the Sapa to Dien Bien Phu road last July, though over a couple of days. The road at the time was terrible - they are building a new dam near Muong Lay and so the road is a bit of a mess. Still, if you can handle a bumpy and hot ride and don't get too nervous when driving along cliff edges at speed, it can be a rewarding trip! I think it takes about 9 hours if you do it in one go, and it will be in a minibus with the locals. If you have the time I'd recommend breaking the trip - there aren't actually any places specifically worth visiting (in my opinion) along the way but it'll give you a good chance to stretch your legs / eat / drink. Have a look at this story - and linked blog - for more information: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/196. But don't be put off! I think it'd be one of those trips you will always remember!
Thanks wanderingcat and travellingsarah. It sounds like a bit of an adventure so we will probably give it a try.
#4 pjc57 has been a member since 24/3/2011. Posts: 4