After a wonderful first evening in Laos, we got up reasonably early for breakfast. We had agreed to meet Bob around 9am at a cafe near the river from where we would depart downstream later on.
Our plan for today was to float to the village of Nong Khiaw. Four more tourists and a bunch of locals joined us for the trip that would take a bit more than 5 hours.
The scenery was amazing as the river meanders through lush green hills either side and past smaller traditional villages. The route is meant to be one of the most scenic in south-east asia. Sadly, the construction of several dams by the Chinese make through journeys on boats impossible nowadays and require change of boats as well as circumventing the dam on land by minibus or tuk-tuk.
I enjoyed chatting to fellow traveller Harry from Cologne who we spotted arriving in town the night before. He is currently on a one year sabbatical and travels by bike. He already spent three months in New Zealand and crossed Northern Thailand on his way from Bangkok to Laos. Reminded me of my own bike adventure (https://rocketontour.com/category/sultans-trail/).
We decided to go straight to Nong Khiaw and skip Muang Ngoy. The latter has also a good reputation, but we have only so much time after all. Once arrived we sorted accommodation and Laura finally got to rest having struggled with an upset stomach all day. I checked out town ready for sunset while Bob rested and Harry chatted with a group of bikers he had met twice before (and who cycle from UK 🇬🇧 to Australia 🇦🇺!!!).
Really lovely town. Quiet, clean, relaxed. Next to the hotel was a nice restaurant with river views (well, it was dark) and we enjoyed a good conversation over a few 🍻. Good night!