Muang Khua

This small town sits at the junction of the Nam Ou - the major north-south transport artery in and out of the province - and Rte 4, which connects Udomxui and Phongsali Provinces with Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. The Lane Xang Bank in Muang Khua can change US dollars, Thai baht and Chinese yuan - cash only - for kip. There's no electricity in town but individual generators power the town's hotels at night.

Places to Stay & Eat

Nam au Guest House & Restaurant Rooms without/with bath US$1.7012.25. Formerly just a restaurant, the owner recently added a few rooms. All rooms are clean, but the small rooms without bath aren't very good value. Two big rooms with private bath are excellent though, and one has a river view. The bamboo restaurant here also has a good view overlooking the river, and a basic menu. The owner speaks French and is learning English; the whole family is very friendly. Large yellow signs show the way from the bus stop.

Meuang Khua Guesthouse Beds in 3- & 4-bed dorms US$1 . The four-storey Meuang Khua, without an English sign (look for' 1989' incorporated into the 3rd floor balcony), is a friendly spot.

Nang Aen Kaew Hotel Rooms US$1.15. Nang Aen Kaew, named for the friendly Lao woman who runs the place, offers five dark but relatively clean rooms. The shared bathing facilities aren't so clean. It's opposite the bus stop and there is no sign in English.

Muang Khoua Hotel Rooms US$1.70. A single-storey white building has fair lodgings and a parking area for the self propelled.

The Muang Khoua has its own Chinese restaurant. There's one other restaurant in town near the Muang Khua Guesthouse, but Nam Ou Guest House restaurant has the best setting and food.

Getting There & Away

When available (when the river is high enough), speedboats from Luang Prabang to Muang Khua cost US$22.75 per person, and take four to five hours, However most travelers wishing to reach Muang Khua via boat take a slow boat from Nong Khiaw, These generally depart once or twice in the morning, take all day and cost US$5 per person.

See the earlier Getting There & Away sections for Phongsali, Udomxai and Nong Khiaw for further details on transport to Muang Khua.