20 November 2016

A Weekend Away in Nong Khiaw

I have been in Laos for almost a whole year and apart from visiting a few of Luang Prabang's neighbouring villages, I haven't had much opportunity to travel the rest of Laos.

Last weekend Tara and I made the long, cramped, tiresome 'bus' (aka a very mini-van, not suited for long legs) journey to Nong Khiaw. Situated along the Ou river, a branch of the Mekong River, Nong Khiaw offers blissful scenery and peaceful surroundings.
Staying in a riverfront Bamboo bungalow, Tara and I indulged in the fantastic food and local attractions on offer. Firstly, we climbed the advertised one and a half hour trek (making it in less than one hour, a fact I am very proud of) up to the Nong Khiaw viewpoint. Spectacular views surrounded us on all sides.
We attempted to witness the sunset, but two tips for those who attempt to do the same:
1. The sunsets behind two large mountains meaning you have to be at the top around an hour and a half before actual sunset
2. Traversing down the steep mountainside climb in the pitch black is terrifying!
As we began our decent down Tara and I witnessed something I have never seen before. As a walked past a tree we were suddenly faced with a wall of thousands of moths flying up towards to the light. We stood and watched for a few minutes as I attempted to capture it on my camera, the result you can see here.

After the treacherous decent down, including many slips and slides, we washed off and changed for dinner. Exhausted from the day's hike we planned our next day's activities and retired early.

With limited time before catching a 'bus' back to Luang Prabang in time for work, we rented mountain bikes (I forgot how nice it is to ride a good bike) and made our way to Pha Tok Caves. Used as a shelter during the second Indochina war by the local villages, the caves themselves weren't that impressive, however, the views along the way were truly stunning.
After exploring for a little bit we soon had to return to the bus station in order to catch a bus back. Although it was a very short trip it was extremely nice to get away for the weekend and explore a little bit more of the country.

Luke T.

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