Travel to Muang Khua, Laos

 
Traveling to Muang Khua was a relaxing day. Just a very long boat ride up the Nam Ou river. We started off the day with breakfast at the Indian place again. Banana roti = delicious!

 
It was another overcast morning. We awoke to pouring rain again, but by the time we got packed up it was just cloudy

 

 
After breakfast we met up with the German girl who was taking the boat ride with us and headed out. 







 
It's probably good we didn't go kayaking this day...the water was just a tad rougher than the day before.








 
 
Along the way we stopped for a short visit to Muang Ngoi. I could see relaxing there for a day, but Nong Khiaw was way better. The town is tiny, and the main road is just restaurants and shops for tourists. Everywhere had free wifi and snacks! We didn't see many people, but we did walk buy a lady selling cloth things. The guy yelled rather aggressively at us to "buy some! Good quality!" The town was just alright. I wouldn't make a special trip to stop there and it seemed like if it became more popular it could easily become another Vang Vieng. 


 
Eat there every meal




 
There really weren't very many people around as we were wondering.

 
Then back on the boat to Muang Khua. It is a 6 hour trip in total, Muang Ngoi was an hour from Nong Khiaw, so a long boat ride. 











 
Lots of cows and water buffalo. There were also tons of butterflies along the shores. You would see just big patches of yellow that would all of a sudden become this yellow cloud as they all started flying around when startled. There were also some really bright blue birds that were gorgeous, but couldn't get them on camera. 


 
And it turned into a beautiful day. The driver and his wife were both on board, and the wife didn't seem to be very happy. When we got back on the boat after Muang Ngoi they both had some snacks - sunflower seeds and rice cakes. They also had some fruit that I am not sure what it was. They were as big as an orange, but green like a lime. They ate some, then the lady went to the back and got some more fruit and cut it up in front, then gave us a bowl of it! I was shocked as she didn't seem to like us very much, but it was kind of her. The people, even if they didn't seem very happy, were really nice, The fruit didn't have a strong flavor, but it was good. She gave us the bowl with some toothpicks, which I didn't realize until after we ate had been part of the boat. I had seen the driver rip off a small piece of wood off his window frame and hand it back to the lady and I think she made that into toothpicks...

















 
Some mining equipment I believe





 
As we headed north instead of seeing lots of long boats like the one we were riding on we saw lots of these "boats" above. They were just bamboo rafts - pieces of bamboo strapped together and people would squat on them and paddle. You might have to click the photo for a bigger version to actually see it since they just sit right on the top of the water. The one above has a motor of some sort, but most were just bamboo rafts. 




 
First sights of Muang Khua. The boat ride started with these huge limestone cliffs and the farther north we got the smaller and more round, just jungle covered hills it turned into, with the hills getting a bit more jagged as we got closer to town. I preferred the first part as I said above, but it was all nice. It was good to have a relaxing day after two busy ones. The clouds were awesome as well. Such a beautiful day! Raymond did get a bit sunburned though as he didn't put enough sunscreen on. Raymond's GPS said we were averaging 10mph which is not very fast. Really there were times when the boat was barely moving forward as the current was so strong in the opposite direction. It was a nice trip. Fun to watch the rocks and shoreline change as we headed north. 
When we got to Muang Khua someone was parked at the boat dock so it took a bit for our driver to move the other boat enough that we could dock there. I wanted to tell him we could just get out and walk in the water (the other person did that to move the boat and it wasn't that deep), but didn't have the vocab for that and he was busy trying to get us docked. 

 
We headed up the hill from the boat dock until we found a place to stay. The town is all on a hill, and this is the view from the terrace on the second floor of our hotel. The German lady who rode in the boat with us stayed there are well. Now see the white building there? 

 
This guy was doing something for a good long while. That looks really safe...

 
After we got settled in we took a walk around town with the German lady. We were going to walk out to the bus stop to see how far it is, but we didn't make it. There were lots of drinking houses along that road and lots of kids saying hello. They especially liked Raymond with his beard. Then we walked across this suspension bridge above which swayed a ton and was very creaky. The far side was another town, but it was just this giant, super muddy dirt road so we didn't explore. 




 
Drugs bring sadness and pain


 
Then we headed back to town, walked through the market that was just closing, and found some dinner. Not many restaurants in town, but we found one along the water that was nice. We sat at dinner for a while chatting with the German lady which was fun. Talking about all of our travels and what else we were going to see and do before heading home. Also the weather here was great! NOT humid! Oh it was wonderful. 



 
Crazy bug

And lizard trying to hide. We had talked about maybe spending another day in Muang Khua, but there really wasn't much there so we decided to just head out the next morning. It was really beautiful, but as the guidebook said it is just a stopping point for people coming from/going to Vietnam as there is a boarder crossing close by. 

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