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Chiang Rai, Chiang Khong, Houixai, Boat to Pakbeng, Luang Prabang; Nong Kiau (Muang Ngoy Mai), Muang Ngoy Kao (11 - 17 April 2008)

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This trip took us on Mekong river and Nam Ou river with a stop over in Luang Prabang. As in the previous northern Laos trip we used the convenient Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand as starting place. After the trip to Nong Kiau, Muang Ngoy and nearby villages we came back to Luang Prabang to take a flight back to Bangkok.

A guestroom in Golden Triangle Inn - Chiang Rai
A guestroom in Golden Triangle Inn in Chiang Rai

During songkran (Thai newyear water festival) which usually arrives in the middle of April, people splash water on each other. Playing water is the main activity in the towns and cities from 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening on these festive days.

A guest bedroom in Golden Triangle Inn - Chiang Rai
A guest bedroom in Golden Triangle Inn in Chiang Rai

Golden Triangle Inn is located within 250 meters from the famous night market, Thai and international restaurants and Internet shops.

A cultural dance show in night bazaar - Chiang Rai
A cultural dance show in night bazaar, Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai night market is smaller than Chiang Mai's. It is compact yet still attractive to visitors of this northern city. Painting shops, handicrafts and gifts, cloths and clothes, as well as food shops open in the evening till early night time.

View of Mekong river and Laos from Nam Khong Riverside Hotel - Chiang Khong
View of Mekong river and Laos from Nam Khong Riverside Hotel - Chiang Khong

This time we did not go to the Opium museum in Chiang Seaen. Chiang Khong has been a port of exit and entry for a long time but most tourists would spend just one night there. We were no exception.

Sunset view on Laos side across Mekong river from Chiang Khong
Sunset view on Laos side across Mekong river from Chiang Khong

Tuk Tuk taxi transport in Houixai, Laos
Tuk Tuk taxi transport in Houixai, Laos

Houixai on the Lao side of Mekong is also a jumping off point for people going to different places in the northern Laos. Majority would go down the river in the slow boat to Luang Prabang via Pakbeng. Some take the road to Luang Namtha visa Vieng Phoukha - a place being promoted for nature tourism. There are also speed boat option either upriver to Xieng Kok (the road to Muang Sing and Luang Namtha) or downriver to Pakbeng and Luang Prabang.

To arrange your travel in Laos, Thailand, etc. check this site: www.trekthailand.net

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