Exploring the Secret Vietnam War History of Nong Khiaw, Laos.

Exploring the Secret Vietnam War History of Nong Khiaw, Laos.

The view from our Nong Khiaw Guest House across the Nam Ou River.

A couple of days ago we took a cramped, over-packed, battered minibus for five hours from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw, a lovely, quiet town in northern Laos, on the Nam Ou River, which is surrounded by soaring karst mountains.

The Nam Ou River at Nong Khiaw.

The Nam Ou River at Nong Khiaw.

The two sides of the Nong Khiaw are linked by an impressive bridge, from which we take photos of wonderful swirling mists at dawn and magnificent sunsets playing out on the flat surface of the river.

Dawn mists over the limestone mountains at Nong Khiaw

Dawn mists over the limestone mountains at Nong Khiaw

At night the town shuts up early. There’s very little vehicle traffic and the restaurants fill up with young backpackers and older retiree tourists who’ve come up north to appreciate the quietness and the scenery.

Sunset from the bridge at Nong Khiaw.

I’m here to enjoy that too, but also to do some research on Nong Khiaw’s Vietnam War history, for a series of articles I plan to write. That’s because this quiet place featured as an important staging point for supplies coming into Laos from China, and as a hospital location for Pathet Lao soldiers during the Vietnam War. The caves around the town are full of Vietnam War relics and reminders, and were heavily bombed by US planes.

I’m looking forward to visiting the caves in the coming days.

Boats at Nong Khiaw.

Boats at Nong Khiaw.

Approximate location of Nong Khiaw in red circle.

Approximate location of Nong Khiaw in red circle.

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.

MIA button

See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. 

For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:

© Peter Alan Lloyd

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