Nong Khiaw in northern Laos is a small village in Luang Prabang province, where the Nam Ou river flows. This place is an ideal tourist destination recommended in a Laos holiday package, with peaceful scenery, friendly people, and activities in harmony with nature. This article will tell you the right time to visit this village, how to travel, and what experiences you should try. Keep reading before visiting this relaxing spot!

When Should I Visit Nong Khiaw?

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Nong Khiaw village’s fresh climate in October (Source: Mog and Dog Travels)

Nong Khiaw’s weather is divided into three distinct seasons, including:

  • November to February: Dry season, temperature ranges from 14 to 31℃.
  • March to April is a dry and hot season, with temperatures ranging from 17 to 36℃. This time is also known as “smoke season,” when farmers start burning fields, and smoke fills the air, which can reduce vision.
  • May to October: Rainy season, temperature from 16 to 35℃. It is rainiest from July to September, leading to floods and landslides in some places, so it is unsuitable for tourism.

The best time to visit this village is from late October to February. The weather is not too cold or hot, and the humidity is relatively low. Tourists can enjoy typical adventure travel, such as trekking, kayaking, or exploring caves. However, there will still be nights when the temperature drops below 10℃, so you need to bring extra thick clothes to keep warm.

How To Get There

If departing from the capital, Vientiane, visitors can take the train to Luang Prabang or Oudomxay province before traveling by bus or taxi to Nong Khiaw village. The trip can take about 2 hours, with prices ranging from $21 to $39, while the return trip is higher, about $30 to $66. After arriving, you can continue traveling by one of the following means:

  • Public Buses: Takes 3 hours to arrive, costs about $9
  • Minivan Buses: From 2 and a half to 3 hours, prices range from $10 to $18, depending on time
  • Self-drive rental car: About 3 and a half hours, prices range from $26 to $37, car rental fee from $35

For most means of transportation, you need to book at least 2 days in advance to get a good seat, especially rail and bus tickets. Tourists can buy tickets through the official websites or any Laos holiday package to receive comprehensive advice, including tuk-tuk for moving to the station and accommodation if desired. From Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw, you can also travel by boat from upstream and change to another station further away by tuk-tuk before arriving. However, this method is not recommended because of the long distance, and the water level of the Nam Ou River is not too stable to ensure safety.

Best Things To Do In Nong Khiaw

Climb Pha Daeng Peak

  • Opening Time: daily at 6 a.m – 4 p.m
  • Entrance Fee: $0.95 – $1.2

Watching the sunset on top of Pha Daeng is one of the things you should experience when visiting Nong Khiaw. This mountain peak is also known as a “misty mountain” in the morning when the surrounding area is covered with clouds and fog. This place is also a famous check-in place, with the Lao flag at the highest point and a 360-degree view showing the country’s sovereignty.

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Lao national flag on the Pha Daeng Peak (Source: Julian Peters Photography)

It may take you an hour and a half to move from the bottom of the mountain to the top using a zigzag trail. Going down can be faster, only taking about 45 minutes. It starts in town, between local houses through the hillside forest. The landscape changes from warm fields to dense bamboo banks extending to the top. Along the way, you can stop at a wooden shelter, which provides a place to rest and some snacks to enjoy. In addition, you can reserve an overnight campsite at Pha Daeng Peak to watch the sunrise fully.

Enjoy Day Trip To Muang Ngoy

Muang Ngoy is a small town that is an hour up the Nam Ou River from Nong Khiaw by boat. This place suits many outdoor activities, such as trekking, kayaking, caving, and shopping. The strange thing is that you will do these activities in a relaxing, quiet, chill atmosphere instead of being in a hurry like you usually do when participating. After traveling, visitors can dine at outdoor restaurants, enjoy a chilled Bialao, relax in a hammock, and watch the sunset. Although it was devastated by War and there are still a few traces left, local people have used the bomb shells to make beautiful decorations. It is hard to imagine when dusk falls; the colors covering this small town can make your heart feel peaceful.

Visit The Local Market

The best way to experience the local culture of Nong Khiaw village is to go to the market early in the morning. The Nam Ou River passes through it, and ethnic minorities often cross it by boat to join the morning market. Therefore, this time is when goods are most displayed, along with the bustle that awakens a peaceful small village. Tourists can find typical fruits, vegetables, and culturally significant dishes such as cakes and soups for breakfast at the local market. They can also enjoy dishes on sale that can make their skin crawl, like grilled mice and insects like spiders and scorpions. On weekends, they also have stalls selling additional clothing or household goods. This is the best time for tourists to buy souvenirs.

Discovery Pha Tok Caves

  • Opening Time: Daily at 7:30 a.m – 6:30 p.m
  • Entrance Fee: $0.95 – $1.2

Along the road south of Nong Khiaw village, about 2.5km, is Pha Tok Cave – a system of three caves. You can tour on your own or book a Laos holiday package. Nevertheless, it would be best to remember to bring a flashlight and follow the signs to avoid getting lost. The first cave starts from a concrete staircase leading inside. This cave is a preserved relic of the Secret Civil War, including signs marking where command centers, meeting rooms, communication facilities, etc., once stood. Behind is a deep hole, a bunker, which does not allow climbing down.

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Steep stairs leading into the Phathok’s first cave (Source:

The second cave is a short walk around the rocks and jungle. It’s quite small, enough for a person to squeeze through, and has little light. It also served as a communications center, with small tunnels clustered together during the War. You can find a third cave along the forest edge, surrounded by barbed wire. Inside is a Buddhist temple-like door that “hides” the tunnel expanding behind it.

Boat on Nam Ou River

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Nong Khiaw Bridge, watching the sunset spot (Source: Passports and Preemies)

Tourists can row upstream along the Nam Ou River to Pha Kuang cave or the northern villages and vice versa by kayak. At the end of the tour, you can enjoy beers on the boat and watch the sunset from the west at Nong Khiaw Bridge.

The Kayak rental price is $3.84, including paddles and life jackets for two people. In addition, you need to deposit a deposit of $4.61 (equivalent to 100,000 kips) in advance for damage or unforeseen circumstances.


You will realize that Nong Khiaw is not a suitable destination for the busy and rushed; instead, it brings a more peaceful, leisurely feeling. The tours are like immersing yourself in nature or the bustling yet friendly local life. Tourists also have many options for regional transportation, such as tuk-tuk, kayak, public bus, or minivan. Finally, the Laos holiday package here peaks from October to February, when the climate suits all activities. Thus, you should book tickets for a full and memorable experience!

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