Same as Nong Khiaw, Muang Ngoi and Muang Khua are both small, secluded towns off the Nam Ou River.
Extremely isolated and fairly difficult to reach, Muang Ngoi is a sleepy little town. Similar to Nong Khiaw, it boasts an attractive list of activities, such as hiking, kayaking and tubing tours, but at a higher price and possibly lower quality. There are also caves and waterfalls a short scooter ride away, but the big draw to this town is really it’s isolation and stillness. Surrounded by luscious mountains, the best thing about this little town is the epic sunrises.
Both buses and boats services transport here. But taking the boat from Nong Khiaw is by far the easiest and quickest way. For 25,000 kip, the 1 hour journey is a stunning experience in itself.
I was recommended to visit Muang Khua, about 6-7 hours by boat further upstream from Muang Ngoi. While the journey was gorgeous, with mountains sprawling out every which way, Muang Khua was not. Unless you’re travelling to and from northern Vietnam, like Sa Pa, I’d say skip it.
The journey is long and expensive, with no regular boats that run. Since boat transports for visitors are low, travellers have to essentially rent out the entire boat. If they’re lucky, there would be other travellers wanting to make the same journey and can split the fare. For my journey, it cost me 150,000 kip to get there and 120,000 kip to get back!
Aside from expensive transportation, there’s not a lot of activities or beauty in this boarder town. You’re better off staying in Muang Ngoi or Nong Khiaw.