Laos Journals

The Notorious Route 7 in Laos, and Other Tales

Best of IgoUgo

A December 2003 trip to Laos by Hun Ohm

Jar Site-Plain of Jars, Laos Photo, Laos, Asia More Photos
Quote: The Plain of Jars may be the biggest draw in the Xiang Khouang province, but take the slow roads between Phonsavan and Louang Phabang and you will see some things that will not be forgotten. Other Laos travel tales as well.

Dokkhoun

Hotel

Quote:
Our guesthouse was perfectly functional, with a large bedroom and private bathroom with shower (the shower dripped a little throughout the night but was not an excruciating distraction) for approximately $4 per night. Our room had two beds, but you can get a room with one bed for less (approximately $3). Of course, prices could be higher when it's really busy (it was relatively empty when we were there in early December). Also, we were told the border crossing to Vietnam was becoming popular, so there may be increasing levels of backpacker traffic, which could affect prices and room availability. There were two buildings-an older main building in the front and a relatively new concrete b...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 26, 2004

Dokkhoun
Route 7
Phonsavan, Laos
061/312189

Soulivong Guesthouse

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Quote:
Affordable Accommodation in Louang Namtha By Hun Ohm The Recommendation Long rides between destinations in Laos provide ample opportunity to discuss experiences and options. A recently engaged Swedish couple rode with us on the slow boat from Muang Ngoi to Muang Khoua and then on the songthaew on the dusty ride down to Oudomxai, and during our time together we heard, amongst other things, their ringing endorsement of the "cleanest restroom in Louang Namtha." As Louang Namtha was next on our list, we decided to follow their advice and headed straight for Soulivong Guesthouse once our bus finally rolled into the Louang Namtha bus station. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 19, 2005

Soulivong Guesthouse
Palang Road
Phonsavan, Laos

Ride a Bike in Vang Viang

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Ride a Bike in Vang Viang Photo, Laos, Asia
Quote:
Ride a Bike in Vang Viang By Hun Ohm Songthaew, kayak, walking shoes – the ways to get around Laos are varied, and each is a great experience in its own right. However, don’t overlook the age-old classic. As they say, no one forgets how to do it, so there are no excuses. Ride a bike in Vang Viang. Equipment Bike rentals are easy to find around the town – just look for the freshly shined rentals lined up outside various shops. We rented our bikes for approximately $2.50 for the day. Some venues may offer "mountain bike"-style rides, which look rugged, but our tip is this: go for the bike with the extra seat padding and pay little attention ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 22, 2005

Ride a Bike in Vang Viang
Vang Viang
Phonsavan, Laos

Slow Boat on the Nam Ou

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Slow Boat on the Nam Ou Photo, Laos, Asia
Quote:
Slow Boat on the Nam Ou By Hun Ohm Most travelers will eventually find themselves in Louang Phabang, drawn by the city’s regal mystique. However, once you have taken in the beauty of the former royal capital, it will be time to move on, and you will face numerous choices. Road to Phonsavan, flight back to Bangkok -- the list is long. Nevertheless, if you have the time and desire to visit some of the more secluded areas of Laos, we recommend taking a slow boat up the Nam Ou to the village of Nong Khiaw. The scenery along the way is lovely, at times spectacular, and you begin to get a sense of what Laos is like outside of the heavy tourist traffic areas. Th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 22, 2005

Slow Boat on the Nam Ou
Louang Phabang to Nong Khiaw
Phonsavan, Laos

Bike the Villages Surrounding Louang Namtha Photo, Laos, Asia
Quote:
Bike the Villages Surrounding Louang Namtha By Hun Ohm The long road from Muang Khoua to Louang Namtha was a combination of songthaew and local mini bus via Oudomxai. It was one of the more arduous journeys, given the tight quarters and dust, but we found ourselves in Louang Namtha before dark. The next day, we decided we’d had enough of motorized travel for the time being and thus went back to our Vang Viang classic, i.e., the bike. The Map Bike rentals are easy to find around town. Dress in a couple of light layers, as the air can be a bit cool in the morning, but you will quickly heat up as you bike around. You will also probably have to c...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 22, 2005

Bike the Villages Surrounding Louang Namtha
Louang Namtha
Phonsavan, Laos

A Short Walk In and Around Muang Ngoi

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

A Short Walk In and Around Muang Ngoi Photo, Laos, Asia
Quote:
A Short Walk in and around Muang Ngoi By Hun Ohm Ninety-seven cents will get you accommodations with walls so thin you will hear the zip of your neighbor’s backpack, snores in surround-sound, or the crackle of candy wrappers throughout the night. Take a room adjacent to a chicken pen and later wonder why the cocks crow at any hour for no known reason. If you find yourself in this situation, you might be in tiny Muang Ngoi, and if so, be sure to take time to walk around. Get Your Bearings Muang Ngoi saunters by at yesteryear’s pace with an ease and gentleness that is infectious. A stroll through the main street of the village will confirm a certain ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 26, 2005

A Short Walk In and Around Muang Ngoi
Muang Ngoi
Phonsavan, Laos

Jar Site-Plain of Jars, Laos Photo, Laos, Asia
Quote:
On the Local in Laos: From Phonsavan to Louang PhabangBy Hun OhmThere would be other moments from the trip to Phonsavan that I would remember in the months to come. After all, we had spent an entire day driving across the Plain of Jars, a moonscape bereft of forest, and yet full of craters courtesy of the unprecedented air raids of the Second Indochina War. For hours, we had meandered around the Jar Sites, opining about the meaning of the immense size of the ancient jars (our musings vacillated between funerary, decorative, and fermentative). It was December now, so while we passed through the countryside of Xiang Khouang province, we witnessed the Hmong New Year ...Read More

Take a Break in Nong Khiaw

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Nong Khiaw Bridge Photo, Laos, Asia
Quote:
Take a Break in Nong Khiaw By Hun Ohm After 8 hours of riding the wood planks of a slow boat up the Nam Ou (originating in Louang Phabang), we were happy to do anything that did not involve sitting. Thus, our day of leisure involved strolling in and around the market town of Nong Khiaw. Situated above the Nam Ou, Nong Khiaw can be reached by road or river from Louang Phabang. Although the town itself is rather unremarkable aside from a certain dustiness, the river valley and surrounding karsts make it an ideal place to break up the journey if you are doing some road/river travel into the more northern regions of Laos A Short Day’s Stroll to the Cave...Read More