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Laos forum

Luang Namtha + Muang Sing or Nong Khiaw + Muang Ngoi Neua

Posted by kondrah on 16/4/2013 at 15:56


we will be in northern from 26 th of april till 4 th of may.

So we have 8 full days there.

We are starting in Huay Xay with Gibbon Expperience (two days/one night).

We were thinking about going to Luang Namtha on 27 th of april. Doing there a trekking (two days/one night) and on 30 th doing one day trip by bike to Muang Sing, back to Luang Namtha same day, and catch a night bus (at 19:00) to Luang Prabang .

Than from 1 st of may, we would have three days in Luang Prabang. On 4 th of may we are heading to southern Laos.

The problem is that recently i've read about trekkings in Nong Khiaw ang Muang Ngoi. And possibility of going to Luang Prabang by boat. It sound really great and i'm not sure if our plan is the best thing we can do on the north:). I heard that this places (Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi) and tribes living near them are much untouched than this one near Luang Namtha. I hear opinions that Luang Namtha is very commercialized.

We would like to do some great treks, spend some time in the most untouched (as possible:) villages, and these are our goals.
Please help us with this hard decision:)

#1 kondrah has been a member since 16/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by steppingintoasi on 17/4/2013 at 04:29

Check out my blog, I have an itinerary on these
Cheers Tif

#2 steppingintoasi has been a member since 16/4/2013. Posts: 10

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Posted by kondrah on 17/4/2013 at 14:18

Thx for reply, but there are on info/opinion about this places:)

#3 kondrah has been a member since 16/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by bd7391 on 18/4/2013 at 17:19

For what you are after (a less commercial trek) id head to nong khiaw and muang ngoi. Luang Namtha has a great tourism infrastructure but its treks are far from raw or untouched... it is very obvious you are visiting commercial tribes which push beer and snacks at you, and the homestays are just a big room at the bottom of the village often. The companies do their best to reuse routes as little as possible but with t, he number of treks och season its inevitable. Saying that, my favourite trek was in LN, not the most authentic but certainly the most fun.

Nong Khiaw is a nice place but Muang Ngoi, a small village about an hour upstream of Muang Ngoi, is the place to trek from. Being in the mountains, you can arrange a guide for yourself or your small group for about $50/3 days who will take you to very remote tribes and villages and prpvide you with lots of information... beware though

#4 bd7391 has been a member since 15/10/2012. Posts: 18

Posted by drewdogy on 24/4/2013 at 23:33

Since we just finished traveling through all of these towns these last couple of weeks, I would just add the following.

If you are looking for 'untouched' villages, these do not really exist in Laos unless you are willing to backpack for several days into very remote regions that are not accessible by road. We just finished a three day trek outside of Phongsali where we were clearly quite an anomaly, but the villages were also not untouched as foreigners had visited previously. I should note that during our trek we did not see one other foreigner, and I believe only a handful of foreigners each year see the villages we saw (more on this to come in another post).

Kondrah, if you are looking for somewhat easily accessible guided trekking that might not involve dishonestly inflated prices, perhaps consider Muang Long? This town sees few travelers and is accessible by bus from Luang Namtha. Check out their website at:

We were told by one couple that they arranged a four day, three night trek with this company for 1,000,000 kip back in January of this year (2013). However, you might want to call ahead to make sure that all the prices and treks are still the same.

Finally, Muang Ngoi Neua is a wonderful little town. It has a great laid back vibe, and the boat ride up the river is spectacular. The advantage of Muang Ngoi is your ability to do self-guided treks. There are a number of villages nearby that you can hike to and spend the night (if you so desire). A couple of the closer villages even have restaurants!

A few notes of caution about Muang Ngoi. The village now has a road (as of 5 weeks ago) and now has electricity (as of 2 weeks ago). Careful of the long running scam on the road as you exit Muang Ngoi - there is a man who set up a booth and attempts to collect 10,000 kip from every foreigner that passes down the road. His sign states that he collects the money for a local school and that the fee is mandatory, however, we learned from locals and ex-pats working in the town that he keeps the money for himself and the fee is a farce. Most unfortunately, the Lonely Planet lists this fee with question and many foreigners simply pay believing they are contributing to a good cause.

Hope you get this note in time for your trip, and have a good time!

#5 drewdogy has been a member since 12/4/2013. Posts: 7

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