Ban Nahin has a population of around 3,000, and is on Rte 8 between Vieng Kham (west, on Rte 13 to Vientiane) and Lak Sao (east, to the Vietnam border). Ban Nahin is a village in a valley surrounded by limestone mountains, and near the most beautiful mountain viewpoint in south Laos. Ban Nahin is a good choice for those who are doing the famous Khammouane motorbike tour known as The Loop (starting in Tha Khaek), and a good choice as well for those who want to visit either the miraculous Konglor cave (50 km from Nahin) or Tad Namsanam waterfall. The latter can be reached by a 3 km jungle hike from Nahin. Ban Nahin has dozens of guesthouses and few restaurants that sell more than Lao traditional food. Ban Nahin is a holiday destination for Lao tourists.
Ban Nahin sits on Rte 8, and most transport along Rte 8 stops here to pick up and deliver passengers. The village is also known as Ban Khoun Kham, and is signposted using that name.
By bus or songthaewEdit
From Lak Sao: (Rte 8) Songthaews are available. 60 km travelling on a paved road with a plenty of hairpins will take more than one hour.
From Tha Khaek: There are direct buses to and from Tha Khaek in the early morning. Otherwise change buses at Vieng Kham.
From Vientiane: Any bus to Lak Sao should stop at Ban Nanin. More regular buses headed south along Rte 13 (in the direction of Tha Khaek, Pakse and beyond) should stop at the crossroads village of Vieng Kham (Rte 13/Rte 8 junction, also known as Namthone. The road to Nahin is indicated by prominent signposts for the Konglor Cave. Buses for Lak Xao and semi-regular songthaews (essentially pickup trucks with benches in the back) can be hailed from here as they pass through. Songthaews drive frequently for a fixed price of 20,000 kip per person. This journey of 40 km takes around 45 minutes.
Renting a motorbike from Tha Khaek or driving your own vehicle is highly popular. Nahin sits on a popular motorbiking itinerary known as "the Loop".
The town of Ban Nahin is located just 100 m parallel to Rte 8. Ban Nahin is small enough to walk around.
Motorbikes can be rented at several places, but don't expect to find Japanese quality. Renting an old Chinese bike will cost around 80,000 kip a day. Sok Say Guesthouse (at the main road, west side of town) offers the best rental service. Price is 50-80,000 kip for one person a day, depending on the number of days and number of people travelling on one motorbike. Better to rent a bike in Tha Khaek where the rental rivalry is stronger.
Just five km west of Ban Nahin, on Rte 8 at a higher altitude, there is an amazing viewpoint. Relax there and shoot your amazing pictures of the limestone scenery. One of the best places in Laos for your sunset pictures.
Information about trekking programs can be found in the Tourist Centre, which is located on the main road, just 100 m west of the main junction.
- 1 Konglor Cave (Tham Kong Lo) (50 km from Nahin). A 7 km underground river that can be navigated by motorized long boat. It must be one of the main reasons for the many guest houses in Ban Nahin. Konglor can be reached by driving your motorbike or sharing a songthaew with fellow travellers. Songthaews leave the village for the Cave at 10 AM and 2:30 PM every day, but you will not be able to return from there if you take the afternoon songthaew. Bring your torch. In Konglor 110,000 kip is the price for a return boat trip, maximum 3 persons to a boat. The road to Konglor leads through a peaceful valley with tobacco fields. There are various guest houses near Konglor and some good homestays in the village about 1 km from the cave itself (50,000 kip per person with breakfast and dinner, maximum three persons in the same house). More information at the Tourist Centre in Ban Nahin.
- Tad Namsamam. A waterfall, 3 km from town, following an upstream jungle path with plenty of rocks to climb and possibilities of swimming. Perfect for a one-day trek, with or without local guide. The path starts at the left side of the only temple in town. Leave before noon, so you won't get lost in the dark. Beware of mosquitoes and elephants. The Tourist Centre will sell you a ticket for 15,000 kip, but this is just a commission as there is no one to check your ticket.
There are plenty of traditional restaurants, and a few restaurants which will satisfy travellers looking for Western food. The couple running the Moonlight restaurant got to know each other while working at a pizza restaurant, and decided to start their own business. Pizza prices range from 40,000 to 70,000 kip and are recommended.
For those who need bread, there are no baguettes in town. However, close to the Moonlight Restaurant there is a small bakery (in a private home). The owner sells bread for 5,000 kip a piece. Bread consists of corn flour, oil and milk. People at the local market sell mainly fish, fruit and vegetables.
- Dokkhoun Restaurant. Nicely lit standalone restaurant in wooden bungalow.
Drinking options in Nahin are largely limited to the guesthouses and restaurants, most of which stock Beerlao.
- Bob's Bar (on the main road east of the bus stop, after the curve). closes 23:00. Expat-managed Bob's is popular with contractors working on the dam, and offers home comforts like satellite TV and Wi-Fi as well as live music played by jamming Filipino workers. There are a couple of no-name Lao bars lit with multi-coloured lights next to Bob's.
- Inthapaya Guesthouse (on the edge of town). Good English spoken and Internet available. 70,000 kip.
- Mi Thuna. Highly recommended by well-known travel guides, but the owner tends to antagonize guests depending on her mood.
- Sainamhai Resort, Ban Namsanam (About 3.5 km from Nahin; pickups from Nahin can be arranged), ☏ , , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 11:00. Quality bungalows with attached bath in a secluded setting, with beautiful views from the attached riverfront restaurant. Ideal for couples or those looking for a comfortable mattress after a long day on the back of a motorbike. 100,000+ kip.
- Seng Chan (opposite the market). Established, high quality option.
- Vangphouthong Guesthouse (on the main street in Ba Hin), ☏ . Double rooms including TV, air conditioning, fan, private bathroom with hot water and comfortable beds. Free drinking water, tea and instant coffee is offered and expect a clean room every day. If the owner is not around then call ahead or take a look around the back. 70,000 kip/60,000 kip without air-con.
- Konglor (the town where the Konglor cave is located). Take either a tuk-tuk or public minibus (25,000 kip/1 hour). The minibus leaves at 15:00. Alternatively, to get back to Ban Nahin, the minibus back departs Konglor at 10:30 (25,000 kip).
- Tha Khaek
The only way out of the village and to Tha Khaek is by songthaew, only once a day at 8:30 AM (50,000 kip/4 hour). You can arrange pick-up from your guesthouse.