After a one hour scenic boat ride North of Nong Khiaw, you will reach the tiny, quaint village of Muang Ngoi. Muang Ngoi is so tiny it is literally one small dirt road, a handful of guesthouses, around 8 puppies and a dozen fluffy, yellow ducklings.
The village has recently had electricity installed, which for some travel bloggers seems to have caused some issues. In my eyes, the development of Muang Ngoi due to its very small tourism scene is absolutely fantastic. This is a poverty stricken village, the locals are now able to enjoy something we take for granted in the west, I don’t quite understand the negatives here? Basically, some bloggers (naming no names) have taken to the worldwide web to voice their concerns; Muang Ngoi is now becoming too touristy, we’re damaging this village etc. Yes Muang Ngoi may now be in the Lonely Planet guidebooks, and yes more tourists are visiting this amazing place each day…but that’s because it’s an absolutely breathtaking place, the locals are some of the friendliest I’ve met and it’s a real gem of a village; unfortunately these places don’t stay hidden for too long. But, trust me on this one, the village integrity is still intact; no skyscrapers are in the works, it’s not planning on building its own casinos. If anything, it’s still the beautiful place it was 5 years ago, the locals are simply now earning more money and what’s wrong with that? If you were planning on coming here just to stare at the villagers like they’re zoo creatures ‘poor them, they don’t even have electricity, they can barely afford to put food on the table’ well move along, because the wonders of tourism have turned things around for them. Now chill out, enjoy the beautiful Muang Ngoi and let them turn their lights on for Christ’s sake.
Aaaaaand breathe. I simply had to get that off my chest-this village has a place in my heart and I would hate for you lovely travellers to strike it off your list over a little thing like electricity, it’s time to grow up. There are some brilliant trails here where you can explore the neighbouring villages as well as some small caves where locals would hide during the Vietnamese war. The panoramic views are seriously surreal, so get yourself to a riverside guesthouse, pull up a hammock and never leave. You’re not going to find a place quite like this again.