5 Incredible Nong Khiaw Viewpoints

A hidden gem of Southeast Asia, Nong Khiaw is a small town in northern Laos filled with beautiful mountains, nature, and slow living! Nong Khiaw Viewpoints are the best way to enjoy the breathtaking nature of it all!

viewpoints in nong khiaw with viewing platform and mountains in the background

I spent 6 days exploring all the Nong Khiaw viewpoints and truly fell in love with this small town. It’s touristy, yet not overrun by tourism yet. It still very much has a local feel. I came to Nong Khiaw only expecting to spend 2-3 days but ended with a week – that’s how much I loved it! I spent my days in coffee shops, learning about the history of the region, and sunsets hiking to Nong Khiaw viewpoints everyday.

The goal of this post is to give you a detailed guide to Nong Khiaw viewpoints so you can accurately plan your trip and your hikes! Plus, I’ll include FAQ’s to answer all your questions!

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

5 Incredible Nong Khiaw Viewpoints

Where is Nong Khiaw?

Nong Khiaw is located in Northern Laos, just a 3 hour bus ride away from Luang Prabang. It’s absolutely a hidden gem nestled in the mountains. Many travelers will visit Nong Khiaw looking to escape city life, enjoy nature, and get off the beaten-path a bit.

SEE MORE: 10 BEST Slow Boat to Luang Prabang Tips

How to get to Nong Khiaw?

The best way to get to Nong Khiaw is by bus. You can book the bus when you arrive in Nong Khiaw, as that is the easiest and cheapest way to book. 

downtown nong khiaw road with small shops and a mountain - Nong Khaiw Viewpoints

It’s best to book through your accommodation in Luang Prabang, because this way they will pick you up directly at your accommodation. Booking online in advance is okay if you want peace of mind, however I would not recommend it because the Luang Prabang bus station is quite far from the city, and your tuk tuk will probably charge you more.

tuk tuk

The buses to Nong Khiaw are packed full. If there are 15 seats, they will cram 17 people inside. They really maximize profits and squish you in. So, it’s best to arrive early and claim your seat on the bus that you want.

Personally, I found the bus to be pretty uncomfortable due to this, however it is the only way in/out of Nong Khiaw on public transportation.

Once you arrive in the town, you’ll want to stretch your legs by visiting some Nong Khiaw viewpoints.

Where to stay in Nong Khiaw?

When looking at where to stay in Nong Khiaw, you really cannot go wrong. The town is small, so anywhere you choose will be well connected. MAKE SURE ITS IN NONG KHIAW AND NOT ANOTHER VILLAGE.

view of Nong Khiaw village

I met a few travelers who accidentally booked accommodation for a village an hour up the river, in Muang Ngoy, when they meant to book for Nong Khiaw.

If you are looking for a budget backpacker place to stay – Delilah’s will be your best choice. I stayed here for a few nights and had a nice stay. It’s an interesting place for sure but the dorm rooms are nice.

It’s a great location for visiting Nong Khiaw viewpoints because it’s centrally located in the village.

Best Time of Year to Visit Nong Khiaw?

The best time of year to visit Nong Khiaw is between November-February. This will be the optimal time to take advantage of the Nong Khiaw viewpoints. During this time, the weather remains dry and not too hot. It’s also before the smokey season.

view during a hike of nong khiaw and the river - Nong Khiaw Viewpoints

From March-April it is peak smokey season and fires burn throughout southeast Asia. These fires cause low air quality and low visibility, so it’s quite hard to see the mountains around you.

I visited in mid-February and had lovely weather. However, it is beginning to be a bit smokey, so some days visibility was a bit less, but nothing too concerning. I was able to complete all of the Nong Khiaw viewpoints on this list with no issues!

Best Viewpoints in Nong Khiaw

Pha Khao Viewpoint

  • Time: 4-5 Hours Round Trip
  • Difficulty: Hard

Pha Khao Viewpoint in Nong Khiaw. Person standing at the top of a mountain

Pha Khao is famous for being the toughest hike and Nong Khiaw viewpoint in the area. You’ll be gaining over 1,000 M (3,000 ft) of elevation on this Nong Khiaw viewpoint! It’s a steep one, filled with stairs the whole way up. I’ll tell you what though, the views at the top are worth it as you will be at the tallest Nong Khiaw viewpoint in the area!

Let’s dive into what to expect out of your Pha Khao Hike.

To get to the trailhead of Pha Khao, you will want to head to the far side of the bridge where you will come across this sign.

Nong khiaw viewpoint sign with information - nong khiaw viewpoints

Turn right here, and continue down the gravel road. Just a few steps down the road you will find the trailhead, marked by a booth asking for 30,000 kip per person. Here you will pay your entrance fee and continue along the way.

First, you will run into a bamboo bridge! This bridge is super fun, and a bit deceiving because this will be the last flat land you walk on during your hike.

bamboo bridge over a river

Then, the stairs begin.

About 20-30 minutes into your hike, you’ll reach a fork in the road. Here, GO LEFT to see Pha Noi Viewpoint (more on that later). It’s about an extra 5 minute walk from here, so totally worth the time to check out.

Once you see Pha Noi viewpoint (more on that later), it’s time to continue the hike. From this point, you have 90-120 minutes left of climbing. Head back in the same direction, and continue straight up.

stairs in the forest to the viewpoint in nong khiaw

The stairs feel totally endless during this hike, but the rocks and little Nong Khiaw viewpoints along the way keep it exciting.

The hike is also filled with some steep rocks and scrambles, so you’ll want to wear a sturdy pair of shoes.

trail on a mountain with a view of nong khiaw village

Finally, after many stairs and a long time climbing, you have made it to the top! The tallest Nong Khiaw viewpoint in the area! Congratulations!

At the summit of the hike you will find a bamboo hut, which is a great place to have a picnic and cool off before the walk back down.

Pha Khao Viewpoint in Nong Khaiw with mountain and village

This was the first hike I did in Nong Khiaw, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a challenge, but one that makes you feel so accomplished once you reach the top. This hike is challenging because of the elevation gain.

It’s best to begin the hike early in the morning to beat the heat. Once the sun comes out, its going to be hot on your way up. Trust me, you don’t want that!

Sleeping Woman (Nang None)

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

viewpoint with standing platform, mountain, and river

My favorite hike to a Nong Khiaw viewpoint has to be the Sleeping Woman hike, also known as Nang None.

What makes this hike so much fun is the steep rock scrambles along the way! I always prefer to hike with some rocks instead of stairs and gravel. I think it makes it more interesting.

This hike is a lot of fun, but also very steep. However, the Nong Khiaw viewpoint at the top is totally worth it!

To get to Sleeping Woman hike, you’ll want to walk like you would to the bus station. Then, on the side of the road you will find a sign that looks like this.

sleeping woman viewpoint sign

Once again, as you begin your hike you will pass by the entrance fee booth. Pay the entrance fee and then you can continue on the way up.

About 10-15 minutes after hiking you will find viewpoint number 1. This Nong Khiaw viewpoint is really nice, and I would recommend stopping here. I stopped on my descent during sunset and really liked it.

viewpoint sign telling you to turn

From here, it’s about 45 minutes left to the top. The hike remains steep, and towards to top it gets especially steep.

What I love about this hike is that there is a rope provided to help you get up and down. This is especially useful on the way down to help prevent you from slipping and falling.

rock scramble during hike to see viewpoints in nong khiaw

What makes this hike unique is that it’s the only one from the city side. So, you have a different view of Nong Khiaw compared to the other viewpoints.

Pha Daeng (360 degree viewpoint)

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

viewpoint with river, mountains, and Laos flag

What a lovely hike Pha Daeng is. If you only have time to do one hike when in Nong Khiaw, I strongly recommend doing this one because of the 360-degree views. This is also the best hike to do for the sunrise.

Alternatively, you can book an overnight camping trip here to catch the sunset, stars, and sunrise! That’s what I did, and it’s the best thing I did in Nong Khiaw.

sunrise at viewpoint in nong khiaw

Besides the point, Pha Daeng viewpoint is a lovely Nong Khiaw viewpoint that everyone should visit!

To get to Pha Daeng, you’ll need to talk about 10-15 minutes past the bridge and continue on until you find the trailhead. It looks like this.

Pha Daeng viewpoint entrance ticket office

The  beginning of the trail is just a slight incline with little stairs. This trail, in comparison to the rest, has the least amount of stairs which is nice.

Anyways, after walking about 20 minutes you’ll find this awesome shaded area filled with sings and benches. It’s a great place to rest on the way up.

resting spot along the trail with bench and trash can

Once you are rested, it’s time to hit the stairs! From this point, you will find the rest of the hike is mostly stairs until you reach the summit. However, the stairs are mostly shaded which makes it significantly easier, as you are not exhausted from the heat.

At the top, you will walk through a wooded area for about 10 minutes until it’s the final push to the 360 degree summit.

trail in forest

If you are doing this hike for sunrise, you will want to leave about 2 hours before the sunrise, to give you enough time at the top to enjoy the clouds and beautiful colors.

Pha Noi Viewpoint

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy

Pha Noi Viewpoint

Connected with Pha Khao viewpoint, Pha Noi is a sweet Nong Khiaw viewpoint that is not too challenging.  It’s an easy hike to the top, with some of it flat and a little push of stairs.

This hike is best for people who want to hike, but maybe don’t want the challenge of Pha Khao viewpoint.

Pha Noi viewpoint is beautiful and easy to access. However, you will still need to pay the entrance fee even if you are only stopping your hike at Pha Noi and not continuing to Pha Khao.

Som Nang Viewpoint

  • Duration: 1 Hour
  • Difficulty: Easy

viewpoint at sunset with people

The most popular Nong Khiaw viewpoint is Som Nang viewpoint. It’s located just across the bridge and is the shortest and easiest hike in the area.

To get here, cross the bridge and you will find the big sign that says Som Nang Viewpoint.

entrance to som nang viewpoint

From here, pay the entrance fee and continue up! This hike is not as steep as many others in the area, however it still have many stairs. I’d recommend a good pair of shoes.

The hike starts uphill pretty immediately, but its only about 30 minutes to the top.

There are also a lot of switch backs which helps break up the steepness of the hike.

hiking trail through the forest

Once you reach the top there is plenty of space for everyone to spread out and enjoy the views. The summit here is the nicest once in Nong Khiaw, as it’s the biggest, paved with cement, and has lots of benches to sit and enjoy the view.

If you are short on time in Nong Khiaw and not up for a long hike, this is a great option. However, for me it was my least favorite hike because it was busy but still enjoyable.

Final Thoughts on Nong Khiaw Viewpoints

Nong Khiaw viewpoints are my favorite things to do while here. Each one offers something different and I really enjoyed doing all of them! With only a few days in Nong Khiaw I would recommend choosing 2-3 viewpoints to explore during your visit.

Nong Khiaw is absolutely a hidden gem in Laos, and might be my favorite place in Southeast Asia. There is something so magical and peaceful about this small town. It’s touristy, yet not too touristy and still very much has a local feel.

If you are visiting Laos, be sure to add Nong Khiaw to your list.

Pha Khao Viewpoint in Nong Khaiw with mountain and village

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.

follow me on social media

Get insider secrets, stories from the road, and my free packing list!

Read More About Post: 5 Incredible Nong Khiaw Viewpoints

Pha Khao Viewpoint in Nong Khaiw with mountain and village

A hidden gem of Southeast Asia, Nong Khiaw is a small town in northern Laos that is not to be missed! And Nong Khiaw Viewpoints

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

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

Read More »

A backpackers rite of passage, the 2 day slow boat to Luang Prabang is a bucket list item for some, and a long dreaded day

Read More »
koh tao viewpoint with ocean and mountains

Best known for its scuba diving and snorkeling, but it’s also home to some of the best beaches in Thailand! These 10 best beaches on

Read More »

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Comments are manually moderated.