Anybody who has ventured into the relatively unexplored haven of Laos returns with the verdict that the Northern part of the country has unmatched natural treasures. Nong Khiaw in Northern Laos is an example of one such gem that we can’t seem to get over. Located on the western bank of the river Nam Ou, punctuated by limestone crags, Nong Khiaw has as good food as adventures to offer to travellers. Here are five reasons why this idyllic little town should be on your itinerary this year. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Easy and Laid-Back

At Nong Khiaw, you get to choose how you want to spend your days, i.e. filled with adrenaline pumping adventure or just swinging in the hammocks, reading away. The town’s vibe is extremely laid back and just like Nam Ou, it moves at a slow but rhythmic pace. You know why that’s just ideal? Because even during vacations, we end up worrying about our itineraries and ticking everything off the list, sometimes exhausting ourselves all the more. At Nong Khiaw, you can enjoy doing nothing in the true sense of the term.

2. Spectacular Sunsets

The incentive to try your hand at rock climbing are the spectacular sunsets that outshine the last one every single day. The limestone formations jutting into the sky offer routes both for newbies and pros. There are a number of adventure companies in the town which lend the equipment as well as guides for reaching the top. You can also take to hiking up the steep climb to the viewpoint early in the morning for a bird’s eye view of Nong Khiaw.

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3. Kayaking Through

Hire a kayak for a few hours (or days) and paddle through the Nam Ou to visit the neighbouring villages. Some of these are only accessible by water, as is the case with many riverside villages in Laos. The water isn’t violent, so the ride should be smooth enough.

4. Trek and Hike Away

From half-day hikes to multiple day explorations, Nong Khiaw doesn’t shy away when it comes to boasting of its trekking and hiking opportunities. The ‘100 Waterfalls’ tour is one such which takes you through some of the most picturesque waterfalls as well as a local village.

5. Cycling Around Town

The best way to explore Nong Khiaw would be to rent a bicycle and make your way around town aimlessly. You will stumble upon many a small local eateries, waterfalls around the town, and maybe even find yourself your own viewpoint!

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