Photo: Looking along the river.


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Muang Ngoi once held mythic status on the Southeast Asia backpacker trail as a gorgeous, sleepy village only accessible by boat, where there’s no electricity let alone ATM or Internet connection. While still gorgeous and sleepy, the modern world has arrived. Sort of.

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Muang Ngoi, also known as Muang Ngoi Neua, is located on the Nam Ou (Ou River), just an hour upriver from gateway town Nong Kiaow. While Nong Kiaow tries to please the masses with a mix of low to higher end accommodation, Muang Ngoi attracts backpackers with its bungalows and hammocks set along a stunning mountainous stretch of the Nam Ou. Mount Phaboom, a single jagged fang-like karst, looms over the village.

Typical river scenes. Photo taken in or around Muang Ngoi, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Typical river scenes. Photo: Cindy Fan

Muang Ngoi remains a modestly-sized cluster of buildings and it has seen nothing of the explosion in tourism like Don Dhet or other backpacker river Shangri-Las in Laos. 24-hour electricity did arrive some time ago and most bungalows/rooms sport a private bathroom with electric heated shower and a Western toilet. But there’s still no ATM and WiFi is iffy, so go ahead and enjoy telling friends and family you’ll be incommunicado. The rhythm continues to be early to bed, early to rise courtesy of those darn roosters. Relaxation and appreciating the view is the chief concern and once you bore of swinging in the hammock, there’s hikes to rural villages, lovely pastoral scenes, caves like Tham Pha Noi and Tham Pha Kaew and two impressive viewpoints including one on the aforementioned ... Travelfish members only (Around 900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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