Travelling the Nam Ou river

The Nam Ou is a tributary of the Mekong, coming from the mountains in the north and joining the Mekong near Luang Prabang. I am hoping to cross the border to Vietnam there, and travelling on the river is the most scenic way there. I had to stop at Muang Ngoi, a small village stretched along a single dirt road,  and spend the night there because upriver travel is slow. They have no Internet, no cell towers, and no electricity except for a few generators that run for a few hours in the evening. The guesthouse charged €3.50 per night.

This morning I wanted to go further up the river, to Muang Khua, but the boat won’t go with fewer than 10 passengers and I was alone. So I chartered the entire boat. Being a rich farang has its upsides. (Farang comes from “français” and means foreigner; all foreigners are automatically assumed to be rich.) So I actually made it. Muang Khua is tiny but they have electricity and an Internet café. Actually it’s a bicycle repair shop with an Ethernet cable hanging from the ceiling, but I travel with a small access point for cases like this to connect my tablet.

Unfortunately the bus to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam only goes in the very early morning so I have to stay another night in Laos. And I don’t actually know if foreigners are allowed to enter Vietnam in this very remote corner of the country, cross your fingers…


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