Nam Nyon waterfall is located about half an hour upriver from Huay Xai by speedboat and a similar amount of time in a chartered tuk tuk.
Heading to the falls is more about the journey on the river or road and through rural areas of Laos that hardly any other foreigners visit, especially as almost all travellers head down river to Luang Prabang or up the main highway to Luang Nam Tha.
By boat, the Mekong becomes narrower the further upriver you head from Huay Xai and a few rapids need to be tackled by your boatman. These are generally no problem, however, and the boatmen will generally just plough on through at about 50 kilometres an hour all the while steep mountains either side pass by.
A few remote villages will zoom past as you head up the Mekong and it's one of these villages that you will need to stop at in order to make a final push towards the Nam Nyon waterfall. The best town to disembark at is Ban Nyon, from where you will need to find a tuk tuk driver to take you the final seven kilometres.
Alternatively, you can charter a tuk tuk from Huay Xai for the journey, which is a cheaper alternative than using a speedboat, but not as exciting. The tuk tuk passes through many remote villages, paddy and past the odd wedding-party complete with Lao music and hundreds of people swilling Beer Lao.
Depending on the season you arrive at the Nam Nyon waterfall, it can be quite impressive, falling for about six or seven metres. A short walk from the carpark across some wooden suspension bridges and you arrive at the viewing point. It's possible to swim in the lake, but generally more appealing during the wet season when flows are more rapid.
How to get there
A speedboat from Huay Xai takes about 30 minutes. Including two hours' waiting time, a return trip should go for 500,000 kip. A tuk tuk should go for about 200,000 kip, but will require some hard negotiating. An alternative is to catch the regular songthaew service which is bound for Ban Mom. The songthaew departs from the Huay Xai market when full and we once waited there for three hours for enough passengers – get there early. This tuk tuk will drop you off in Ban Nyon where you will need to find another tuk- uk to take you the remaining seven kilometres.