Vieng Thong or Off the beaten track

Muang Ngoi Neua is remote according to the guidebook.
There is a constant trickle of tourists from LPB going there and back.
Not a single person we talked to was however travelling onward to Vieng Thong / Sam Neua.
There also is only one daytime minivan on that road that takes up to 10 hours.
That makes it difficult to break it down in smaller junks and you are not sure if there is a place in the bus.
So we where somewhat nervous.
We already had a ticket (from Nong Khiaw) when a guy we already had spoken to in LPB briefly, started to talk to Astrid.
He was a subcontractor for the bus-line from LPB and actually owns the minivan.
Complicated system here. The money you pay seems to go to a least 3 different parties.
That is also why they suddenly try to charge for the AC in the bus.

Anyway, we ended up hiring him and his Van, he had a good price especially for the days that we do nothing. We tried that in LPB but some wanted full price even for day we do not travel. With the kids and our rest days, not a good deal.

We could even get 70% of the ticket price back.
So we went to his village where he collected his belonging and off we went to Vieng Thong.
(By the way, there is no English wikipedia for that village)

Next day we went to the Nam Et/Phou Louey NPA (National protected area) Park office. We thought that we could not go into the park itself. However, Paul and American told us that the night trip is doable with kids and checked the weather. Very good the next 2 days. So we booked.

We then did a track through some forest to old military trenches from two Indochina wars (the Americans had an secret airbase in Viengthong). It turned out to be 2.9 instead of the announced 1.4 km.
Anyway, it ended by some very neat hot springs.

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The water is supposedly 100 Degrees.
We boiled some eggs (not mine).

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The yolk was rigid but the white remained somewhat liquid. Not really 100 after all.

Our private bath.
It is empty when we arrived. One has to fill it. Unfortunately they forgot to add something so that the water does not flow out again. The plastic cup provided did a poor job. So it was difficult to get a temperature not too hot for the kids. Some grass did the trick.
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Nice environment. The public bath is on the right, no entrance fee there.

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Actually written 15.06.2013

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