Nam Long and Nam Ma rivers

Worth a wade

Photo of , , Muang Long

What we say: 3.5 stars

To explore the two rivers running beside Muang Long, take the road that leads downhill from the market. Turn to the right on the paved section, and you'll shortly see a dirt road running off to the left.

As you turn off the road, you will see a small temple. You'll have to head down the dirt path on foot, where you'll come to the Nam Long, perhaps accompanied by locals who come down to wash their clothes in the river.

In the dry season, the river is not deep and easy to wade across. As the rains fall the river gets deeper and faster, and crossing is less safe but still doable. Locals who live on the other side use a small boat stored in the bushes, or wade chest deep to get across. There is no bridge.

If you do manage to get across to the other side, you'll find a small settlement and some crop fields. And closer to the base of the cliffs you'll reach the Nam Ma, named for its reddish colour.

If you're looking for a thrill, it is possible to swim with the local children in the rapids of the Nam Long with relative safety due to the shallow nature of the river and the fact that the fast flowing section only runs for a couple of hundred metres. On our trips here we have seen locals floating downstream on inner tubes a la Vang Vieng and it may well be possible to ask someone further up stream if they can lend you some.

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