Laos V: Nong Khiaw – Adventurers’ HQ - VIDEO
Four hours of ride in a minibus on dirtroad with huge potholes I reached the destination I fell in love with instantly. It is the town of Nong Khiaw (sometimes transcribed also as Nong Kiaow). It is split into two parts by a blue-green river that has been formatting local landscape for millions of years. There are high mountains on both banks. Jungle changes into steep rocks with individual huge tropical trees.
Couple of bamboo bungalows are along the river and also some family guest houses. The line a street that heads further into the mountains. There are only couple of restaurants and bar for change. Behind them there are houses of local inhabitants. Some are traditional, meaning built from bamboo, some are new made of bricks.
I had spent 4 nights in Nong Khiaw. Other two nights I spent in Vieng Kham, a village deep in the mountains. I was there the only foreigner they had seen in last three months. I was lucky to find many fascinating people from all around the world in Nong Khiaw. We all had one in common – being an adventurer and love for travel.
I made some short trips in local villages. It was either by walk or by rented bike. I came to known local people. The Laotians may seem bit closed and shy at first but when they open up they are very nice and kind people. Still, it holds true the further you are from tourist resorts the better it gets.
One of the most memorable experiences was a climb on the mountain right behind the town. Locals keep a jungle path. Moreover, they built a small bamboo house on the top. The experience is worth it even though they now collect an admission of about 20 thousand kips (about three dollars). Upon a steep climb following a narrow path where slippery stones and crumbling dirt is under your feet you reach the top with beautiful vista. You can recognize near villages by raising smoke from kitchens. You can also observe the river and local moutnains, and a huge setting sun which makes everything look crimson. Haze and dust only add to the experience.
Around, you find some limestone caves . For bit of money, they will gladly take you there. Also, you can rent a canoe and set off to local famous natural sight called 100 waterfalls. A small river created a waterfall cascade, there are literally around one hundred waterfalls.
If I ever return to Laos, then I will go deeper into the mountains. There are many mysteries, and also people who are not spoiled by tourism and the West. There are also many native tribes. Here one realizes what really matters in life. We are in stress for meaningless things and we forget to stop and enjoy what we have. Unlike people in countryside in Asia, we have really a lot. We were born in the most generous age on the most generous place on Earth.
Text/photo/video: Matouš Vinš
|Discussion at the article (0)|
Information and warnings on travelling abroad is to be found HERE.