Unspoilt Laos - the Luang Namtha region
Laos is hardly built up by any stretch of the imagination, but this rural north-western province is especially lovely. Its unspoilt mountainous landscape is home to thriving Akha hill tribe communities, and boasts excellent trekking and cycling. And although Luang Namtha can still be considered relatively off the tourist trail - for now, at least - recently improved infrastructure and accommodation make this an accessible, comfortable tropical adventure.
What to expect in Luang Namtha...
There is a lot of wonderfully scenic trekking and light adventure on offer in Laos, and it varies from easy-going and well-trodden to mountainous and remote. On this spectrum, Luang Namtha is on the comfortable side of remote, although only recently so. What was once an arduous eleven hour drive along bumpy tracks from the Thai border is now a smooth five-hour road-trip, all through scenic forested mountains.
Luang Namtha township sits just outside the Nam Ha National Protected Area, which is home to dozens of endangered species - including tiger, clouded leopard, Asian elephant and the black-cheeked crested gibbon - as well as hundreds more that are doing well. Your experience will include a full day within the National Park, accompanied by an expert guide who will help you spot the Park’s wildlife, and point out the medicinal and culinary plants that are integral to local culture.
Your guide will also act as interpreter when you visit Akha tribal villages within the National Park, meeting villagers and chatting with them about their daily routines and ways of life. It is also possible to stay overnight in a village home, eating dinner with your hosts and extending your Nam Ha trek.
For the rest of your stay, the simple but welcoming Thousalith Guesthouse offers comfy beds and hot showers, in a town that boasts a number of good restaurants and a night market where you will find excellent and genuinely ‘authentic’ Laos streetfood. There will be plenty of time to explore on your own, too, letting you wander off the beaten track while we take care of the logistics.
Location: Northern Laos
Duration: as long as you like
Accommodation: village homestays, & the Thousalith guesthouse
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'This combines brilliantly with lovely Nong Khiaw, where you can stay for some scenic kayaking and light treks before heading on down the Nam Ou River towards Luang Prabang.'
Important to note...
From the way things are going, Luang Namtha won't be unspoilt for long - visit now before mega-casinos and dams get built.