Luang Namtha–Huay Xai or Ban Na Lae–Huay Xai longboat (one day) You can now only take the boat as far as Ban Phaeng, where a dam has recently been built; from here you are picked up and driven the remaining route to Huay Xai. What was a two-day experience is now just a day, though you still have around eight hours of puttering downriver. The journey starts in Luang Namtha where you are driven by car to Ban Na Lae to board the boat.
Hat Sa–Muang Khua is no longer possible since the Nam Ou (Ou River) was dammed, although Muang Khua–Nong Khiaw (six hours) still sees boats leave Muang Khua every morning, passing through Muang Ngoi Neua (five hours) before arriving in Nong Khiaw, and taking you through the country's most spectacular karst scenery. However, it is necessary to change boats to pass a large dam about one hour north of Muang Ngoi Neua.
Nong Khiaw–Luang Prabang (one day) Due to the damming of the Nam Ou, the boat trip to Luang Prabang was not possible at the time of research but, like the other dam-affected river trips, it may be available in sections in the future, and will involve hopping in and out of vehicles and boats to accommodate the obstacles. Otherwise, it is possible to sign up for kayaking trips in Luang Prabang and Nong Khiaw that include short but beautiful sections of the river.