Located on the banks of the Nam Tha River in the northern part of Laos, Luang Namtha is the largest city in the province of the same name. It is primarily perceived as a stopover en route for visitors crossing the border of China to visit Laos.
The city has two distinct parts; one which is referred to as the old town was bombed during the 1970s and the new town, which was built as a replacement of sorts for the old one.
This place is famous for trekking and other outdoor activities attracting a lot of trekkers to explore many natural wonders. Mountain biking, rafting and kayaking are some of the ways to enjoy the scenery and the wilderness.
Moreover, Luang Namtha province is the most diverse province in Laos and one of the most ethnically diverse areas of Southeast Asia with more than 20 ethnic groups such as the Akha, Yao, Black Tai and Lahu. You will have a great chance to learn about them and their way of life.
1. Nam Ha National Protected Areas
Nam Ha National Protected Areas is also recommended place to visit. It covers an area of 2,224 km2 with verdant lush forest and three large rivers that feed the Mekong River. You also found several villages of diverse hill-tribe ethnic groups and endangered wildlife like Asian elephants, clouded leopards and gaur here.
2. Ban Nam Dee village
Exploring Ban Nam Dee village of Lanten ethnic gives visitors countless opportunities to learn about the locals and their way of life living in thatched bamboo houses and wearing traditionally hand-made indigo blue clothes.
Waterfalls such as the Nam Dee near Nam Tha town and Gneung Phou Ku Lom near Muang Sing are also popular tourist sites to cover. If you are looking for a relaxing experience in Luang Nam Tha go to one of the herbal sauna services. One of them is located close to the Lao Airlines Office, beside Panda Restaurant.
4. Muang Sing
Muang Sing is also popular tourist site to cover. This region is dominated by breathtaking landscape of densely jungle-clad mountains. One of the most interesting feature is its vibrant morning market near the border with Yunna, China. This is where various Lao ethnics such as Hmong, Yao, Lue, Tai Dam, Lue gathering to trade their products. It is a unique chance for anyone to get a real flavour of the local’s life as well as try some local specialties.
How to get to Luang Nam Tha
Visitors can take the Lao Airlines flight between Luang Nam Tha and Vientiane which operates four days per week, then take a tuk tuk outside the airport to go to your guesthouse. International flights may be offered soon since the airport is going to expanded with the 1,600-metre runway.
There are some buses to Luang Nam Tha depending on where you start.
– From Jinghong to Luang Nam Tha, catch the bus number 1. It leaves at 10:40 and takes 8 hours.
– From Mengla the bus leaves at 08:00 with repeat trips throughout the day as well and takes 6 hours since it involves crossing the border from China to Laos. Make sure that you convert your Kips into Chinese currency before making this trip if you don’t want to face atrocious exchange rates at the border.
There is a boat trip from Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha and back. You need to make arrangements in advance as there are no fixed regular services. You may have to depend on cargo ships for this, which can be tricky and depends highly on your good fortune. Remember to not try this route in winter as the northern part of the river is frozen during this time. The trip takes two days which means you may have to stop over for the night at a nearby village.
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