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Nam Ou

Nam Ou (Laos)

Practical information on Nam Ou

  • Mountain
  • River
  • Waterfall
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Essential
  • Off the beaten track
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
25 km from Luang Prabang by boat
When to go
Between October and March
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Nam Ou

michael mamane Seasoned Traveller
76 written opinions

The Nam Ou is a tributary of the Mekong in the north of Laos. It joins the river to the north of Luang Prabang, north Laos' main town, and is a navigable waterway that is surrounded by beautiful mountainous scenery.

My suggestion:
I advise you to travel on the Nam Ou between Luang Prabang and Muong Ngoy in the north so you can appreciate the calm of the region and enjoy the beauty of the mountainous countryside around you.
My review

During your trip to Laos, I encourage you to explore the Nam Ou's beautiful surroundings, whether you are coming from the north of the country, for example from Muang Khua towards Nong Khiaw, or whether you are going upriver from Luang Prabang.

Nam Ou is overlooked by some impressive cliffs, and I took the opportunity to go and explore the hundreds of statues of Buddha you can find in Pak Ou cave, north of Luang Prabang.

I also enjoyed spending a few days in Nong Khiaw, and also the even more peaceful village of Muong Ngoy. On the way, the pirogues coming and going, little fishing boats and the magnificent sun sets over the mountains have left me with some wonderful memories...

Maryam Josheni Seasoned Traveller
20 written opinions

The Nam Ou is a river that stretches across the north of Laos and hooks up with the Mekong. A boat trip will give you the chance to travel through some stunning scenery!

My suggestion:
If you head down the Nam Ou in a canoe or dugout, remember to practise your patience and wear waterproof clothes! 
My review

Travelling down the River Nam Ou during summer was a highlight of my trip to Laos. You're plunged straight into a magnificent, savage paradise.

The river is bordered by jungle and mountains, home to numerous ethnic communities such as the O'Pa and Si La. If the boat stops en-route, take the time to visit some of the villages. Laotians are very welcoming and curious to meet foreigners. I do advise you to remain respectful of the villagers and their customs. Don't be intrusive and only strike up a conversation if they show interest. 

Going down the rapids on the river involves getting soaked and you may need to get off the boat if the water level's low...but the adventure's well worth it!

River Nam Ou
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