Nong Khiaw, Northern Laos

Nestled between mountains on the Ou River, Nong Khiaw is a picturesque town which invites a quiet and slow pace of travel. At the time I visited there were very few travellers.


The river’s scenic east bank (officially called Ban Sop Houn) is where most guesthouses and restaurants are.


Visiting Nong Khaiw can just be about enjoying the stunning scenery, but if you want to get out and explore, here are some ideas.

Climb the limestone formations that surround the town.

There are lots of organised trips to remote tribal villages lead by local guides. It’s important to visit hill tribes with a guide since they know the etiquette of each unique culture.

Rent a kayak and spend a day on the water. You can paddle to nearby villages.


Travel north along the Nam Ou river to Muang Ngoi Neua, a pretty town set in the mountains. The town is smaller than Nong Khawi and is so remote it’s only accessible by water.

Riverside Restaurant enjoys a spectacular location on the river with cliff views. There is a wide choice of dishes on the menu.

There are plenty of guesthouses if you want to stay overnight. It’s worth paying extra to be on the river.

Journey takes about 1 hr 30 mins by public or private boat. It’s easiest to visit from November to March in the dry season when the current isn’t as strong. There are no ATMs so make sure you take enough cash.


Lots of restaurants to choose from with great food. Service is often friendly and slow – like I said, this place invites a slow pace so if you go to eat before you’re starving you’ll be fine.

Delilah’s Place
Low natural wood tables are an ideal hangout for a lazy breakfast.

Coco Home Bar & Restaurant
This beautiful riverside restaurant has a great selection of dishes. Dine on the terrace overlooking the river or in the leafy garden.


There are lots of bungalow style accommodation options with river views. You can choose a modern brick building with aircon or a simple wooden style with a fan. I opted for the latter and it was very simple. The mosquito nets were much appreciated after we found a massive spider in the bathroom.


Bus from Luang Prabang
You can catch the Pak Mong and then contnue by tuk-tuk to Nong Khaiw

Private Car from Luang Prabang
For ease you could hire a car or minivan to take you all the way to your guest house. Journey takes about 3 hours.