Ultimate Guide to Muang Ngoy Laos (Things To Do + Tips!)

Surprise! You made it to Laos, and you have probably hear murmurs about how cool Nong Khiaw is in the north. However, you may be inspired to travel deeper into Laos local life. Only accessible by boat, Muang Ngoy is the perfect destination for backpackers looking to get off the grid and experience local Laos culture.

muang ngoy things to do - small village with dirt road and mountain in the background

I visited Muang Ngoy for 3 days and had the absolute best time. From waterfalls to hikes to relaxing evenings, Muang Ngoy is really great for those looking for a slow-paced adventure. I had the BEST time in Muang Ngoy, and really fell in love with this region of Southeast Asia. 

In this post, I will outline EVERYTHING you need to know before your trip to Muang Ngoy. From things to do, how to get there, and pro-tips to know along the way.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

The Ultimate Guide to Muang Ngoy, Laos

Where is Muang Ngoy?

Muang Ngoy is located in northern Laos, about a 4 hour journey away from Luang Prabang. It’s a small local village that has been accommodating to tourists. If you really want off the beaten path travel, this is the spot for you because the only way to get here is via boat.

a boat ride on a river, the water is green and there are green mountains in the background

Nong Khiaw to Muang Ngoy

Getting to Muang Ngoy from Nong Khiaw is very easy. Each morning, there are boats that depart at 11:00am. You can arrive to the boat dock around 10:30 and purchase the ticket for the same day. They run as many boats as they need to accommodate travelers.

The cost for the boat as of 2024 is 70,000 kip for one way.

The boat ride is a beautiful one-hour journey taking you through mountains and enjoying sights. I really loved the boat journey. However, they do pack you in tight!

line of crowds to board the boat to Muang Ngoy

Muang Ngoy to Luang Prabang

Getting from Muang Ngoy to Luang Prabang is simple as well. You’ll need to board the boat back to Nong Khiaw, transfer to the bus station, and then take the bus back to Luang Prabang. In total, I would budget 5-6 hours for this.

Where to stay in Muang Ngoy

Muang Ngoy is a small village, and everything is within a 10 minute walk from the pier. So, location shouldn’t matter too much when booking your accommodation in Muang Ngoy. 

If you are a solo backpacker on a budget, there is Delilahs Hostel. The atmosphere is great, the people are great, and it’s easy to make friends here.

Muang Ngoy Village downtown

However, if you are traveling with others, it’s better to stay in a guest house. This is because it’s probably about the same price as the hostel and you will have a nicer experience.

I stayed in Delilah’s Hostel and had a really nice time.

Before your visit, it’s best to book accommodation in advance. Although Muang Ngoy is off the beaten path, it also doesn’t have many guest houses. So, it can be difficult to find accommodation if you do not book in advance.

Best time of year to visit Muang Ngoy

The best time of year to visit Muang Ngoy is from November-February. During these months, the weather is at its best. The temperatures remain not so hot, little rain, and before the peak of the smokey season.

things to do in Muang Ngoy, view from the top of a mountain viewpoint while the sun is setting in the smokey air

In contrast, the worst time to visit Muang Ngoy is March-May because of the smokey season. The smokey season happens because farmers burn their rice fields which leaves terrible air quality. During these months, it becomes difficult to see the mountains and the air quality is not safe to be outside.

June-October is a nice time to visit Muang Ngoy if you don’t mind a little rain and heat. Prices are likely to be lower due to less tourists during this time as well.

Things To Do in Muang Ngoy

When visiting Muang Ngoy, there are many things to do! However, I had the best time settling into the village and just relaxing. It’s a sleepy place, filled with roosters, dogs, and locals. But, if you looking for some things to do, here are the best things to do in Muang Ngoy!

Phanoi Viewpoint

First on the list is the best hike in the area, Phanoi Viewpoint. This viewpoint is well market in the village and a popular route for visitors to take.

Phanoi Viewpoint - things to do in Muang Ngoy.. blue mountains while the sun is setting with a river at the bottom

This viewpoint is best to do in the early morning or just before sunset. I went up during sunset and had the most incredible view! Pro-tip is to bring a headlamp and stay up here for the stars! Muang Ngoy is so remote, it has some of the best star-gazing I have ever seen. There is one small light at the top, that you can actually turn off.

To get to Phanoi viewpoint, you can type in the trailhead on your phone. Alternatively, walk to the Muang Ngoy boat pier and you will find wooden signs pointing you in the direction of the trailhead. From the pier it is about a 10 minute walk.

Phanoi Viewpoint trailhead with a sign and a ladder

The begin the hike, you’ll need to climb over the ladder and continue straight. You’ll probably walk by some goats if your trip is anything like mine. After about 5 minutes of walking you will reach the entrance fee point. Pay the fee and continue onward!

From here, you have the choice to go right or left. I recommend going right on the way up, as this is the steeper and shorter way up. It’s pretty fun too with rock scrambles and ladders.

entrance sign to Phanoi Viewpoint

This on the way down, take the longer and easier way. This way, you get to do both trails. The steep and shorter trail would be difficult to go down as well.

After about 45 minutes of climbing, you will reach the top! The top is a really nice place to rest and relax as there is a big area filled with benches.

Phanoi Viewpoint in the dark with the city lights below and stars above

Note that it does get quite crowded during sunset, so it’s best to be up there early to get a nice spot and not have to worry about running up to beat the sunset. 

Tad Mok Waterfall

One of the longer adventures to do in Muang Ngoy is to Tad Mok Waterfall. It’s about a 1 hour walk outside of the village and easy to do on your own. However, there are also many tours that will take you here too.

The walk to the waterfall is beautiful, yet hot. So be sure to bring plenty of water.

Once you arrive, you will need to pay another entrance fee. Then, you are free to explore the waterfall and swim!

Although I didn’t make time to visit Tad Mok Waterfall during my trip to Tad Mok, I heard the best things about it. It’s really worth your time!

Fishing Day Boat Tour

The village of Muang Ngoy offers many day tours. In the village, you will see plenty of signs selling you these trips. I decided to book the fishing day boat tour and had a lovely time!

view of animals from the beach from the boat

I have never fished before, so it was a unique experience for me. During the tour they teach you about all the techniques the use to catch fish in the river, along with letting you try to catch some yourself!

The first half of the tour is a relaxing boat ride where a fisherman catches fish you for (that you will later eat).

Then, you visit a beautiful waving village.

Lastly, you will have a beautiful picnic enjoying the fish you caught, sticky rice, and any additional snacks you had.

fishing village boat ride in Muang Ngoy things to do

It’s a really nice way to spend the day in Muang Ngoy and learn a bit about local life. After the tour, I have so much respect for what the fisherman do on a daily basis!

Hike to Ba Na Village

One of the best things you can do while in Muang Ngoy is hike deeper into the area to Ba Na Village. Ba Na Village is about an hour walk outside of Muang Ngoy through beautiful rice fields with soaring mountains. It’s a beautiful walk, but can be difficult to reach if you don’t know where you are going.

Hike to Ban Na village is one of the Muang Ngoy things to do

You’ll start your walk by following the main road out of the village. It’s a bit of the boring part because it’s just a road, however, in a few kilometers you will veer off and head into rice fields.

After about 20 minutes of walking you reach the main cave. I heard the cave is nice to visit, however my group decided not to go in.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There will be a man here telling you that you have to pay an entrance fee to walk the path to Ba Na Village. THIS IS A SCAM. You only need to pay if you go into the cave. 

After the cave you will reach a fork in the road. From here, you can choose if you want to continue following the road or head into the rice fields. I highly recommend the rice fields for a more beautiful walk in nature.

bridge over a river in the forest

Head through the small path, over the bridge, and then you will reach the rice fields. Then, continue to navigate the rice fields until you read Ba Na Village.

The village is small and very cute. They are happy to have visitors and sell lots of handmade scarves. 

There isn’t too much to do here other than explore some caves, relax at a restaurant, or buy hand-made crafts. I’d maybe budget 1-2 hours here depending how much you want to do.

walkway around Ba Na village

Indulge in food at Gecko

Gecko cafe is the famous restaurant in town with a lovely atmosphere and great food. It’s easy to spend an afternoon here planning your next travel destination or playing cards with friends.

Gecko was my favorite spot in Muang Ngoy to eat. The pizza is delicious, by the way!

When in Muang Ngoy, Gecko cafe is not to be missed!

Is Muang Ngoy Worth Visiting?

With so many things to do, a relaxing atmosphere, and delicious food, Muang Ngoy is absolutely worth visiting! In fact, after 3 months backpacking Southeast Asia, it quickly became one of my favorite spots (along with Nong Khiaw!) I really love the simple life, good weather, and time spent in nature.

Boat ride with mountains in the background

However, if you are looking for nightlife, maybe this isn’t the spot for you. As there are no bars, and just a few restaurants with cocktails. 

Muang Ngoy is a hidden gem, a place that many tourists never hear of. By reading this post you are one step closer to discovering the beauty of Northern Laos.

muang ngoy things to do - small village with dirt road and mountain in the background

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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