Muang Khua travel guide - Rusty Compass

An independent travel guide to Muang Khua with candid reviews and recommendations. No sponsored content, no advertorial.

Muang Khua travel guide

Muang Khua Introduction

| 31 May 2016
Last updated 31 May 2016

Muang Khua is a small northern Lao town at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Nam Phak rivers. For most travellers it’s a stopover between travels upriver to Hat Sa or downriver to Muang Ngoi and Nong Khiaw. We arrived in Muang Khua by boat from the historic Vietnamese town of Dien Bien Phu.

There isn’t a whole lot to see here and the locals have a border town coolness about them that is not typically Lao. Still, we had an enjoyable afternoon walking around and exploring on foot.

It was certainly an interesting place to spend a night.

Things to see and do in Muang Khua

As a stopover town, Muang Khua doesn’t have any major attractions - but it’s river setting is surprisingly picturesque. Between the town itself, the market and the nearby riverside roads, there’s easily a half-day of interesting exploration.

Those with more time may want to consider trekking in the surrounding mountains. There is no established trekking scene here so you’ll likely be improvising - which means you should exercise the usual precautions. Don’t get lost.


Hotels and Guest Houses in Muang Khua

All of the accommodations in Muang Khua are budget. We stayed at the Manchai guesthouse, which was unremarkable, even a bit dingy - but fine for the night. All the places we looked at were under 10USD.

Most guesthouses are located on the main drag and are an easy walk from one another.

We also checked out the Sernnali Hotel, which was fine and priced around $10US per night.

Eating in Muang Khua

You probably won’t have your best Lao meal in Muang Khua. The restaurants seem to have worked out that nobody stays around very long. And climbing to the top of TripAdvisor seems not to be a major objective of local restaurant owners. There are a couple of places on the road down to the boat ramp that are set up for tourists. They’re basic. While we were having lunch at one place, a family member from the restaurant came in and had some fairly nasty motorcycle accident wounds dressed in front of us.  Might have put some off their meal.


Nope. Get to bed early for the ride out - wherever you’re headed.


Yes - internet is pretty widely available - including 3G phone cards.

Getting there and away

Most travellers arrive by boat. We arrived by road from Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. This is a pretty interesting way to get to Vietnam. The border’s been open for some time now but not too many travellers make the journey (see the video).

Slow boats travel along the Nam Ou river between Muang Khua and Muang Ngoi and Nong Khiaw. This is one of the most spectacular river rides in Asia - through sections of

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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