Muang Ngoi Nuea

Right: The view of Nam Ou from my balcony in Muang Ngoi Nuea

After a fairly uncomfortable one hour boat ride from Nong Khiaw, we arrived in Muang Ngoi Nuea.

Here you could literally get by on about $5/day if you really wanted to. Accomodations were basically bamboo huts for 10,000 Kip/night (i.e. a shade less than $1.00). Electricity was available only for a few hours each evening.

Nam Ou

It's amazing what a huge ice-breaker it is, just saying "Hello" in the the local people's language. Taking a stroll up one of the tributaries to the Nam Ou I encountered some village locals returning from fishing. They looked at me a little suspiciously as I approached but as soon as I uttered the magic words, "Sabaai Dii" their faces erupted into broad grins, heads nodding, knowingly, in my direction, "Sabaai Dii!!!!", as if affirming that we're all on the same wavelength here. This became a familiar pattern and I found myself fast developing an affinity for the local people.

Trekking aroung Muang Ngoi

Below Left: Bovine Chill
Right: The neighbourhood bomb squad

In Muang Ngoi Neua, I met an American (Patrick) and a Swede (John), who were trying to get a trek going and offered to join them in order to get the price down. The local guide (Kon Keo) would take us on an overnight trek for $50 split three ways. Leaving the village the next day, it was a little disconcerting to see the bomb detection squad operating in several backyards.

We spent the night in a Khamu village in the hills where I got my first taste of squirrel. The following day we trekked down to a town further along the river where we had arranged a boat to take us further up the river to Muang Khua. This trip took about five hours but with only three passengers on the boat this time it was a lot more comfortable.

Below Left: Villagers play ratan ball
Right: A more comfortable and leisurely cruise further up the Nam Ou