Scooters to Muang Sing

Muang Sing Travel Blog

 › entry 12 of 34 › view all entries
Cindy Scooter Queen on the way to Muang Sing Laos

So we woke up early and it seemed to be nice out, however by breakfast time, it looked gray and like it might rain.  Not wanting to laze around another day, we hopped on the scooter with daypacks and headed off on the road to Muang Sing.

Laos is such a laid back and slowly developing country that the roads and people's attitudes on them are quite hilarious. At least in the far north, there are more dogs, chickens, buffalo, babies and pedestrians than vehicles. Traffic laws seem to not exist with animals sleeping in the middle of the lane expecting or rather demanding that traffic bypass them.

Village Houses on the way to Muang Sing
Scooters with five people on them (usually with the woman riding side saddle) shoot out driving in the wrong direction and never use turn signals. Farm equipment slowly lumbers down the road billowing diesel exhaust. All of this makes for an entertaining but white knuckled journey.

Not knowing what to expect on the road, we filled up with gas (a bit of an adventure itself) and wound our way the 60 or so kilometers to Muang Sing. Along the way we passed through village after village of various ethnic peoples as we wound our way up and then down the other side of the mountain. Some of the villages were very small with just a few wooden houses on stilts, and others were bigger with small stores and what seems to be the ubiquitous satellite dish (hopefully not showing reruns of the OC or Real Housewives of Orange County). Each time we passed though a village the kids enthusiastically waved and shouted "Hello, Hello!" and "Bye Bye!” occasionally chasing us down the road - quite fun.

Two hours and several landslides later, we arrived in the very sleepy and dusty little town of Muang Sing.

Akha Tribal woman

We scootered around a bit and eventually found a recommended guesthouse.  It was marginal at best so we thought we would stop by the trekking office and see if they had anything scheduled the next day - they didn't.

Strike one.

Since as were starving, we figured lunch was in order. Let's just say that the food there doesn’t hold a candle to the great food in Luang Nam Tha - actually it sucked. In addition, we were continually pestered by very aggressive, older Akha women, their betel nut stained teeth shining in the sun as they continually tried to sell us bracelets and trinkets.

Strike two.

We had read about another place 6KM further out of town right near the Chinese border.

Back to the Boat Landing Guesthouse Grounds
The ride there was beautiful through huge rice paddies and cloud shrouded hills. The dirt road up to the place and crossing the river on the scooter were a bit tough but we made it to the very scenic Adima Bungalows.

The Boat Landing had told us that Adima had changed ownership and was not good - they were right. A bunch of derelict looking young kids (Hooligans according to Cindy) were sitting around smoking and playing pool. They seemed perturbed when we asked to see a room. It was dirty and instantly won the "no way" vote. As we drove away we wondered if perhaps these were the kids of the previous owners (maybe they mysteriously disappeared ala "Children of the Corn" or in this case I suppose "Children of the Rice").

Strike three.

Now we had a dilemma. Here it was two o’clock with no good accommodation options, no good food options and no good trekking options.

Map of Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing
On top of all that, the sky was a darkening bruised purple color. After a brief discussion, we agreed that great rooms, food and beer at the Boat Landing Guesthouse were worth another two sore hours on the scooter, even in the rain. We said if we could make it till three p.m. that would be half way and we would go all the way back to Luang Nam Tha but if it started pouring before three, we would turn back to the squalor of Muang Sing.

Well it started drizzling and by about 2:55 it was raining pretty well but we weren’t going to give up so I donned my plastic poncho and we pushed on, vaguely able to see through my rain spattered sun glasses.

When we arrived back at the Boat Landing Guesthouse the girl at reception said "why are you back?” Feeling somewhat guilty that we opted for luxury over squalor, we told her our plans had changed and we had to make it to Luang Prabang to meet friends. Too funny!

When we wandered out to dinner, Sean and Elise from Australia were there so we ended up dining and talking with them late into the evening. They are going to be visiting Cambodia too, so perhaps we will see them again. 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Cindy Scooter Queen on the way to …
Cindy Scooter Queen on the way to…
Village Houses on the way to Muang…
Village Houses on the way to Muan…
Akha Tribal woman
Akha Tribal woman
Back to the Boat Landing Guesthous…
Back to the Boat Landing Guesthou…
Map of Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing
Map of Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing
Muang Sing
photo by: lrecht