12 Jul - 14 Jul 2010 Muang Ngoi

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)
Khem Feng Guest House.
Double room in a basic bungalow with terrace and great river views, for only LAK 20,000.- or US$ 2.50 per night. Very friendly staff.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Khem Feng Guest House in Muang Ngoi Neua which we would recommend:

Soaking up the stunning views over the sluggish Nam Ou River from the hammocks on the terrace of our dirt-cheap river-view bungalow, sipping iced coffee laced with powerful Laotian rice whisky aka lao-lao, the cheapest alcohol in the world, and exploring the one-street village of Muang Ngoi Neua (where low-budget tourism becomes the new cash crop replacing poppy farming) and its local Buddhist wat thus learning (i) that young Buddhist monks take vows to uphold no less than 227 precepts, from abstinence from sexual relations, alcohol and the wearing of any sort of ornamentation to more arcane rules such as the prohibition on urinating whilst standing upright (so as not to soil robes), and (ii) that the thorough study of Marxist-Leninist theory is still mandatory for all monks in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Watching a noisy and exciting (neo-animist/Buddhist) merit-making ceremony aka het bun (accumulation of merit is paramount to a Theravada Buddhist’s spiritual strategy, a way to dilute the destructive effects of any sin that may have been accrued by bad deeds, while at the same time ensuring that the next incarnation will be better than the present one) during which the agitated inhabitants of Muang Ngoi Neua put a blessed offering on a bamboo raft, launched it with gusto into the Nam Ou River and sprayed it afterwards with 60 rounds of Chinese 7.62x39mm full-metal jackets from a vintage Type 56 assault rifle which they had borrowed from the generous village cop.

Buying two hard seats (LAK 20,000.- or US$ 2.50 per person) in the slow boat bound for the downriver one-horse town of Nong Khiaw and enjoying the 1hr-long ride on the Nam Ou River where logging and decades of slash-and-burn agriculture have left their mark.

Click below for more blog posts about river trips
 20 Nov - 06 Dec 2014 Varanasi
04 Jul - 06 Jul 2010 Muang Khoua
16 Jun - 22 Jun 2010 Hoi An
19 Aug - 28 Aug 2009 Similajau
06 Aug - 08 Aug 2009 Song

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

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