13th March 2015
Frank Krievs travelled to Northern Laos on a tailor-made holiday with Wild Frontiers in February to mark his 60th birthday. Below he talks about day 8 of his trip...
Today is the first day of two major trips down the Nam Ou river. We set off in the van and drive approximately 20km to the village of Ban Han Tai. It's market day in the village so there is plenty going on. The scenery en route is spectacular as we're above the clouds, so we make a couple of photo stops.
We reach the village of Ban Han Tai around 9.30am and get onto our long-tail boat, which has three wooden double seats with pads on them. It's an exhilarating experience compared to the van! The Chinese are building dams on the river so we have to get off the boat and carry on our journey by road in a form of tuk-tuk which is actually a small lorry with a platform on the back. We share the journey with the locals and drive to the village of Ban Sampan where we have noodle soup for lunch.
The river journeys are very interesting, particularly when the highly skilled drivers manoeuvre through the many white water sections with such ease, although sometimes more water came aboard than we would have liked! The banks and the river are full of interest and we get a close up view of water buffaloes and pigs on the shore. There are also plenty of locals fishing and we see the odd boat dredging the river for gold. The scenery of course is spectacular.
After Ban Sampan we get on a second long-tail boat and it's even better than the first. We end our journey at the village of Muang Kwa. Our guide Lanexang takes us on a tour of the village which has a spectacular suspension bridge. There are signs up stating its a 'free crime' village and that there are no drug dealers. We can sleep easy in our beds tonight then!