nong khiaw

Transit Guide: Nong Khiaw to Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is a little town located in central Laos. Known for its wild parties, river tubing and numerous adventurous activities, it's no wonder that it's a popular destination. 

How to get there

From Nong Khiaw, we took a mini-bus to Luang Prabang. If you buy from the bus station, it costs 37,000 kip to get to the North Bus Station and 55,000 kip to get to the South Bus Station. We originally wanted to buy the cheaper ticket, but when we got there, it was sold out. So, it might be worth it to buy the ticket in advance from a guesthouse. We noticed that Delilah's Place sells it for 40,000 kip. Just note that the times vary for the bus. It leaves when it's full - earlier or later than advertised. The bus takes three - four hours get to Luang Prabang. 

Once we got to Luang Prabang, we ended up having to stay there one night because we wanted to break up the travel time. So, we booked a bus from our guesthouse at 8:30 a.m for 120,000 kip (including the tuk tuk ride to the station). Buying the ticket from the bus station is cheaper, but you might risk it running out of seats. The bus ride takes closer to four-five hours with a half hour stop for a food and washroom break. 

The bus ride is pretty scenic with gorgeous mountain views, but it's also extremely terrifying. There's one part where you drive along the mountainside with steep drops. The drivers can be very aggressive and pass cars on this road if they're driving too slow. 

We arrived in Vang Vieng in one piece!

Happy Travelling

Travel Guide and Tips: Nong Khiaw

The small town in northern Laos is probably my favourite. It's located by the Nam Ou River surrounded by limestone mountains. It's absolutely breathtaking, fairly cheap and filled with friendly locals. What's not to love? 

Things to do

1) Nong Khiaw Viewpoint

For a beautiful view, hike up to the top of the Viewpoint. The strenuous three hour hike is definitely worth the effort. There's a 20,000 kip entrance fee which includes a water bottle and a bamboo walking stick. 

2) Pha Tok Caves

Originally used as a hideout during the Indochina war in the 1960s, these caves have an interesting history. From the city centre, you can walk (45 minutes) or bike (20 minutes) to the caves. There are three caves you can visit, although the main one is much more impressive than the two smaller ones. There's a 10,000 kip entrance fee. 

3) Trip to Muang Ngoi Neua Village

The small village is located about an hour boat ride from Nong Khiaw. Some treks will offer to go there for a day trip. If you're looking to do it on your own, you'll have to spend a night there since there's no boat leaving from Muang Ngoi Village in the evening. However, I hear it's an amazing little village.

4) Different Treks

There's several different treks and tours advertised across the town. The popular ones are Tiger Trail's 100 Waterfalls Trek as well as the day trip to Muang Ngoi Neua (boat ride to the village, swimming in the waterfalls and kayaking back to Nong Khiaw). 


Joy's Restaurant 

Located by Sunrise Guesthouse, this was our go-to restaurant for Wi-Fi. On top of that, the food was pretty tasty and cheap. Get the ice coffee with sweetened milk! 

Delilah's Place

Located on by the bridge near the post office, Delilah's Place was a great breakfast and dessert spot! They also have pretty cheap accommodation (55,000 kip for a private room) and dorms. 

Deen's Restaurant 

This was our favourite place to eat. Eating delicious Indian food is such a delight after eating Laos and Thai food for weeks. It's pretty affordable at 12,000 kip for a vegetarian dish, 24,000 - 26, 0000 for a meat dish and 8,000 kip for naan. 

Places to stay

Nam Ou River Lodge

A little farther from the city centre, Nam Ou River Lodge is a an affordable place to stay. It's 100,000 kip for a private room with a washroom. It's a spacious room with a balcony. It has a pretty nice view by the river and its pretty quiet in the area. The wifi is a little spotty, but decent overall. 

There's no restaurant associated with the guesthouse, so you'll need to head to the city centre for food.

Sunrise Guesthouse 

Located next to the bridge, Sunrise Guesthouse is also an affordable place to stay. It's 80,000 kip for a private room with a washroom (flush toilet) and 50,000 kip for a room with a squatting toilet. 

It's located in the city centre, with restaurants, bars and activities just a short walk away. However, the walls are pretty thin between the rooms, so it can get kind of loud. Joy's Restaurant is part of the guesthouse, so you don't have to walk too far for decent food, drinks or Wi-Fi. 

Happy Travelling!

Hiking to Pha Tok Cave in Nong Khiaw

If you're in Nong Khiaw, visiting Pha Tok Cave is another affordable activity. The historic caves were originally used as a hideout during the Indochina war in the 1960s. 

How to get there

About 3 kilometres from the bridge, the cave is located past the Viewpoint. After about a 45 minute walk, you'll reach a sign for Pha Tok Caves on your right. 

There is an entrance fee of 10,000 kip. Take the path to the right, which will lead you to a makeshift bridge. When I say makeshift, I mean it's a tree with bamboo railings. 

From here, if you head right, you'll make it to a smaller cave you can climb around. If you head left, you'll need to climb the small ladder over the fence to get to the main cave. From here, head up the concrete stairs to the large cave that people used to hide from the bombs. Make sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp because it gets pretty dark. 

From the large cave, if you keep taking the trail left, you'll reach a smaller cave that you can climb around in. Although, we noticed that the trail isn't maintained as well. It's also much smaller than the first two. So, I wouldn't say that it's necessary to visit. 

Finally, try not to let anyone guide you, as they'll expect a 50,000-80,000 kip tip. 

Happy Exploring!

Hiking to Nong Khiaw Viewpoint

If you're looking for a budget-friendly adventurous activity, hike up to the viewpoint. It offers a beautiful view of Nong Khiaw and the surrounding limestone mountains. 

How to get there

Getting to the beginning of the trail is pretty simple. Head past the bridge (on the guesthouse and restaurant side), and you'll find arrows pointing towards the viewpoint.

The entrance fee is 20,000 kip and includes a bamboo walking stick and a bottle of water. Part of the entrance fee goes back to the local community for maintaining it. The trail is opened from 6 a.m. - 4 p.m. Please note that you shouldn't veer away from the trail as there are unexploded bombs in the area from the war. 

From here, the hike takes roughly 1 - 1.5 hours to get to the viewpoint or three hours round-trip. It's a tough hike that takes you uphill to the top of the mountain. Be careful of the rocks and roots. There is rope at certain tricky sections to help keep you balanced. 

The best time to go is in the morning when it's cooler and cloudy. The clouds should clear up by mid-morning, so you'll have a gorgeous view at the top. 

Happy Adventuring!

Transit Guide: Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw is town in northern Laos located by the Ou River, surrounded by limestone mountains. It's a quiet town that offers beautiful views. 

How to get there? 

The best way to get there is to take a bus. It costs around 50,000 - 60,000 kip and takes between 3-4 hours to get there. The roads are pretty bumpy, so be ready for a rocky ride. If you get a window seat, you'll see beautiful landscapes along the way, which will hopefully make up for how terrible the ride is. 

We bought our ticket from our guesthouse for 80,000 kip, which included our tuk tuk ride to the bus station (20,000 kip). Just note that if you decide to purchase at the bus station, you might not be able to get a seat during high season (Dec-Mar). 

When you reach Nong Khiaw, you'll get dropped off at the bus station. It costs 5,000 kip for a tuk tuk ride into town. The bus station is only 2km from the city centre, so feel free to save the money and walk it. Once you get past the bridge, there will be an abundance of guesthouses and restaurants. 

We stayed at Sunrise Guesthouse for 80,000 kip for a room with hot water, wifi and flush toilets. There's also a balcony with hammocks to lay on. 

Happy Travels