Nong Khiaw Travel Blog› entry 4 of 19 › view all entries
Today Kam Pha takes us on a easy day walk from Muang Ngoi to the village of Ban Na. His first idea was to catch the boat downstream and walk up to a viewpoint but I pointed out to him that we both had heavy packs and a steep climb would be beyond us.
The walk to Ban Na first goes past the village caves about 45 minutes from the river. The main cave has a large chamber and a passage that goes deep into the hillside. The cave was used by the villagers as shelter during the Indochina war and Kam Pha points out the bomb craters outside and the rubble in the cave entrance caused by bomb hits to the cave entrance. Beyond the cave the valley opens out into farmland where both cows and buffalo graze.
Though we had come here to see the countryside and meet the local people, I find the UXO work fascinating and a very good and real reminder of the troubled recent history of the country. In Ban Na we see further evidence of the war. Old cluster bomb casings are literally everywhere and have been used for the construction of houses and bridges; one we see used a flowerpot!
In Ban Na the women and childern sit in the shade underneath one of the large houses. Kam introduces us and shows us around the village. We sample the local Lao Lao whisky and one of the older women invites us into her house and offers us food; riverweed, worms, bamboo and sticky rice.
Back in Muang Ngoi we end the day sitting on the guest house balcony overlooking the river and watch the sunset. This is a tranquil place and I could easily stay longer, but tomorrow we are back to Luang Prabang so we can learn to cook Lao style.