Monday, March 24, 2014

Luang Nam Tha: Jungle Trekkings, Homestays with Hilltribe People and Rivertrips

See the locations on Luang Nam Tha Google Map

See Map of Luang Namtha Province, Map of Luang Nam Tha Town and Map of Luang Nam Tha environs

Luang Nam Tha

Picture by Sergi Hill
Picture by from the north country

Picture by Le photo à Go-Go

Picture by Sergi Hill

Picture by Pondspider
Valley near Luang Nam Tha

Luang Nam Tha in the mountains of northern Laos counts around 3500 inhabitants. The old town lies near the airport, the new town 6 km apart in the north. Here you find most guesthouses and tour agencies. It's a starting point for trekkings to the hilltribes. Two companies offer tours: Luang Namtha Tourism Department (behind the nightmarket) and Green Discovery.

What can you do here? For example visit Luang Namtha’s morning market, where people from Luang Namtha and nearby villages sell and buy fruits, vegetables (spring onion, coriander and cabbages), jungle meat and junge plants (read more).
The nightmarket is the spot, were people hang out in the night. It opens from 5 pm. Here you can try traditional dishes with vegetables, herbs and spices from the jungle (read more).
You can go kajaking on Nam Tha River and visit Lanten, Khmu, Khmu Rok, Tai Dam or Tai Lue villages (read more). Visit the Luang Namtha Museum, rent a bicycle or a mountain bike at one of the guesthouses, shop for handicrafts, explore the waterfall at Ban Nam Dee, see Wat Luang Kone (7 km from cizy center), Wat Ban Vieng Tai or That Phoum Phouk (Phoum Phouk Pagoda), go for guided boat trips on Nam Ha River and along Nam Ha Protected Area (with tigers, bears, elephants and wild buffalos) or visit the markets (one near the bus station and one near the airport). Read more about the Nam Ha Protected Area. Read more about things to see and do in Luang Nam Tha. You gan also go trekking into the jungle-mountains and visit villages of Akha, Khmu and Yao (Dzao) people, especially to Luang Nam Tha National Protected Area.

There are several herbal saunas in Luang Namtha, the most popular being the one next to the Panda Restaurant.

Picture by intothegreen
At Luang Nam Tha nightmarket

Picture by John Pavelka
That Phum Phuk

Picture by Sergi Hill

Where to stay in Luang Nam Tha

Adounsiri Guesthouse: Mixed reviews von Good review on

Anolak Guesthouse: From 6-12 USD.

The Boat Landing Guesthouse and Restaurant From 40 USD. At Nam Tha River, outside the town. Older bungalows, rooms are described as basic by reviewers on In the evening it is difficult to get a tuktuk from the town to the guesthouse.

Picture by John Pavelka

Picture by John Pavelka

Dokchampa Hotel: Chinese hotel in the centre of Luang Namtha, on the main street.Quite good reviews on

Hongching Hotel:

Khamking Guesthouse: Near nightmarket, therefore a bit noisy according to a reviewer on

King Mala Guest House:

Luang Namtha Guesthouse:

Manychane Guesthouse:

Nam Tha Riverside Guesthouse:

Picture by crosby_cj

Shenjeuter Guesthouse:

Sangouanchai Guesthouse:

Song Laos Guesthouse:

The Phou lu III Guest House: Bungalows with balconies, with thin walls according to reviews on, which are quite good.

Toulasith Guesthouse: From 80 000 Kip. Good reviews on

Homestays: You can book tours with homestay for one night. Homestay in Ban Vieng Neua with Tai Youn people; homestay in Ban Chaleurnsouk with Khmu people; homestay in Ban Nam Dee with Akha people.

Villa Guesthouse:

Zuela Guesthouse: Very good reviews on See video on

Eat in Luang Nam Tha

Forest Retreat Bamboo Lounge:

How to arrive in Luang Nam Tha

By airplane: Lao Airlines flies from Vientiane to Luang Nam Tha.

Boat Pak Tha - Luang Nam Tha: During two days you travel in an open boat along Nam Tha river where large sections can only be reached by boat, past riverside villages of the Khmu and Leu ethnic people. On the way you pass a Buddha image in a cliff face. You'll stay in the village of the boatsmen. Before you arrange your boat trip in Pak Tha you should know, that most boatmen on the lower Namtha will only go as far as Muang Nalae. This because they are not experienced in navigating the rapids between Nalae and Namtha. Also during the low water months (Feb- May) the boats may only run as far as Nalae. But there you find a bus to Luang Nam Tha or boatsmen, who go up with you. Read more about the boatmen and the prices on and on Luang Namtha Guide.

Picture by John Pavelka
Nam Tha River

Picture by Mat Honan

Picture by immu

Bus: Bus to Muang Sing takes 2 hours. Songthaews going in the morning. See bustimetables for Luang Nam Tha province. Bus to Huay Xai needs around 4 hours, to Luang Prabang between 8 and 12 hours, There are buses to Bokeo International bus station in HUay Xai, from where you cross the Mekong by the new Friendship Bridge and go on to Chiang Rai or Chiang Nai by Vip buses (read more). There are also buses from Luang Nam Tha via Boten to Mengla and to Jinghong (both (Yunnan province in China).

Akha Village Ban Nam Hee

Situated at the confluence of the Nam Hee and the Nam Fa. See picture of a family. Nam Hee is the name of a small river that flows to the Nam Fa that flows to the Mekong. An interesting story about the gates on the way to the village has been written by Lao Bumpkin. The gates are about keeping the spirits out. Nam Nam Hee ist also mentioned on

Picture by johntrathome
Spirit houses

Picture by Pondspider
Akha women, returning from the market

Picture by Pondspider
Looking up the Akha village

Picture by Pondspider
Looking down to the Akha Village

Picture by John Pavelka

Nalan Tai Khmu village:

Picture by Alexandra Moss
Guestroom at the Khmu village

Picture by Alexandra Moss

Picture by Alexandra Moss

Vieng Phouka Trekking Centre

Vieng Phoukha Guide Service Unit, and supported by the EU. The guide unit offers
treks to ethnic Khmu, Lahu, Akha and Tai Lue villages. Mountain Guesthouse:
Map of Vieng Phouka

Buses from Luang Prabang drop you off at Vieng Poukha.
Buses from Luang Nam Tha and Huayxai pass through Vieng Phoukha

Muang Sing

Muang Sing Historical Centre
Map of Muang Sing town
Map of Muang Sing environs
In Muang Sing District, treks to Akha, Hmong and Tai Lue villages are offered by
the Muang Sing Guide Association.

Chantimieng Guesthouse: From the balcony you overlook the rice paddies. Guite good reviews on

Trekking adresses: Trekking around Luang Nam Tha with Green Discovery. Forest Retreat Laos.

See Luang Nam Tha on Youtube.

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