Day 15: This morning we packed up yet again, and headed down to the river in Muang Ngoi where our long boat awaited us – and about 20 other people – for the trip back to Nong Khiaw. Despite a makeshift jetty, we still had to paddle through the water in our bare feet and climb in through the boat windows.
We arrived in Nong Khiaw around 11am, walked across a wobbly narrow plank with chunks missing to get onto dry land again, then off in search of our accommodation.
Lil spotted an interesting guesthouse online last night. We arrived to discover it’s absolutely sensational – it’s a shame we’re just here for one night (we pondered extending for another night, but we still have lots to pack in to our last two weeks in Laos).
Our accommodation is in a 5 room floating boathouse on the river, with a bar and restaurant and awesome area for sitting out. And it’s just $28 a night for both of us, including breakfast (20 USD) – accommodation is really cheap here. From the entrance way on the road, it’s accessed by walking down lots of wooden steps, across a bamboo bridge and down a sandy slope. Another interesting set of room regulations posted on the wall including ‘no setting off lanterns’.
We spent most of the day chilling on the deck, apart from a quick walk into town to visit the ATM and pick up a couple of bits from a village store. It was another hot dry summer day, perfect for drying ginger and sweetcorn in the sun.
We popped in to the bus station to buy two tickets for our trip to Muang Xai tomorrow. There was no one at the ticket booth, so we leaned over the counter to see if anyone was around to help. We spotted a guy curled up fast asleep on the floor. One of the bus drivers in the car park came over and told us “He is sleeping. You must go away and come back tomorrow.” Alrighty.
We also had to catch up with a bunch of online admin today, paying credit card and tax bills, reading rental statements, and checking online post from the mail redirection service we’re using. While going travelling doesn’t mean the admin goes away, thankfully an hour every few days is mostly enough to keep things in order. And of course, we spent some more time plotting and planning our next moves in Laos, while drinking endless cups of Laos green tea.
This evening we had dinner in the restaurant at the far end of the deck – a leisurely 10 metre walk there and back. 🙂 We had awesome Pad Thai and green chicken curry with sticky rice – freshly cooked and perfect. It was stunning sitting looking out over the river and across the limestone cliffs as the sun was setting, and the resident French terrier came over to say hi too.
Another storm has started now – they’re getting more frequent, particularly in the late afternoons and evenings, as the rainy season starts to kick in. Fabulous to watch the rain sweeping across the mountains and valleys.
Tomorrow we head to Muang Xai, a 4 hour bus trip west (assuming the guy at the bus station is awake and can sell us two tickets).