Map of Nong Kiau
Google Earth: 20° 34' 17.41" N 102° 37' 05.52" E Elevation: 365m
There are two ways to travel between Nong Kiau and Luang Prabang. The one is by road, the other by river. Buses leave from Luang Prabang Northern Bus Station in the morning around 8.30 and then again around 10.00 and 12.00. Schedules tend to fluctuate, so please check before travelling.
The river trip is by far the most interesting. It is more expensive, but it’s worth every kip it costs. Tickets are sold in Luang Prabang by various travel agents, and boats can be chartered exclusively at the boat pier in Luang Prabang. Boats leave from the boat pier in the morning. Boats from Nong Kiau to Luang Prabang leaves in the morning as well. Boat departures depends on the number of passengers and in the low season they sometimes have difficulty filling up, which means that you will have to charter or partly charter the boats if you wish to go.
There are bus connections to and from Udom Xai, Muang Vieng Kham and Sam Neua. Boats connect Nong Kiau with Muang Ngoy and Muang Khua through a part of the river that runs through some of the most amazing gorges in the country. To Muang Khua a boat will have to be chartered in most cases as there is little traffic on this part of the river. If budget allows it, one of the greatest river experiences in South East Asia lies ahead of you.
From Udom Xai there are connecting buses to Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing. From Muang Khua public boats departs daily to Had Sa and Phongsali.
To and from Vietnam
A new and very interesting option of travelling to and from this part of Laos is the newly opened Tay Trang border allowing travel between Dien Bien Phu and Muang Khua. A few adventurous travellers find their way regularly, but this route deserves the attention of a much broader audience. Dien Bien Phu is a historical highlight of Vietnam, but nevertheless not visited by very many. This mountainous part of Vietnam is as remote and untouched as it’s counterpart in Laos across the Annamite Mountains.
The border post is a small highland outpost a short ride from Dien Bien Phu. On the Lao side it’s a 76 k’s descend into one of the most beautiful valleys hidden anywhere in the north. The bus ride goes through unseen Thai Dam villages and amazing mountain landscapes. The road is unpaved and access is occationally interrupted during the height of the rainy season. During the second half of July, all of August and first half of September, bus services can be irregular.
Otherwise the bus leaves Dien Bien Phu 5.30 AM and arrives early enough to catch a boat to Nong Kiau. A river journey on the top of an adventurous bus journey ensures that this day has been packed amazing impressions.