Laos // The far north //

Practicalities

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Muang Khoua can be reached by road or river. At one time Route 4 continued across a pontoon bridge over the Nam Ou at Muang Khoua, but it has been destroyed. Off the main road, a long curving road leads down to the boat landing on the pebble beach along the Nam Ou. The dirt road on the opposite bank is the other half of Route 4; a basic vehicle ferry makes the regular crossing.

The tourist office is situated on the main road, close to the road down to the boat landing. The Agricultural Promotion Bank is situated on the main road, just down from the Tourist Office, and can exchange currency.

Accommodation

Muang Khoua has a number of guesthouses; your best option on arrival is to follow the road uphill from the boat landing. Electricity is only available from 6 to 10.30pm – and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t quite run when it should.

Eating

There are a few restaurants in town, including the travellers’ favourite at the Nam Ou Guesthouse, which has a pretty standard menu with dishes for about 12,000K. Saylon Restaurant has great views of the river – come for a beer at sunset, but the food is pretty grotty. The best choice for something to eat is the Vietnamese restaurant (no Romanized name) next to Chaleunsouk Guesthouse. A small, bare-bones place, it’s got a great local feel, and serves up deliciously spiced fried rice (10,000K) and a gorgeous Lao-style yellow curry (25,000K).

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