A Boat Trip to the former Backpacker Opium Hideout of Muang Noi, Northern Laos.
Above Photo: Mountains at Nong Khiaw, Laos.
As research for my backpacker novel, BACK, I recently took a scenic boat trip from Nong Kheaw to Muong Noi, a tiny, road-less village in remote northern Laos, up the Pak Ou river.
Many years ago, Muong Noi was a haven for Opium-loving backpackers, who’d hole up there and trip out for a dollar a day, unimpeded by the short arms of Laotian law enforcement. That’s all changed now, but it had resonance for some of the modern-day backpacker drug issues in the plot of BACK.
Nowadays, little-visited Muang Noi is so quiet, so tranquil, and incredibly beautiful, surrounded by soaring jungle-clad karst mountains, with the Pak Ou river flowing in front of the hamlet. It’s easy to imagine the place back in the day, full of chilled-out travellers tripping on opium, watching the days slip by.
I’d also come to Muang Noi to visit a cave which had some interesting Secret War artefacts in it, but upon arrival we enjoyed just sitting in a restaurant, listening to the silence and looking out over the lazy river and the majestic mountains reflected in it.
Visiting Muang Noi was a wonderful experience, which I can’t recommend highly enough.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
For POWs and MIAs left behind in Laos, see also:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2:
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