About 5 minutes out of Luang Namtha town is a pretty waterfall named Nam De, meaning Good Water. It’s a popular place to visit because it’s so close to town yet so far away – once there you feel like you are a million miles from any kind of modern conveniences and you’re surrounded by nature and beauty.
Next to the waterfall is a small Lanten minority tribe village, Ban Nam De. The Lanten people here are super friendly and are always willing to have a chat with whoever passes through. (You will have fun trying conversations using hand and body movements and lots of pointing at what you might be talking about – there is pretty much no English spoken in the village but that’s no barrier to dancing around a bit and getting your message across!) They are seen wearing the traditional Lanten dress of hand woven fabric dyed with plants from the forest to a dark indigo blue, and bring pink strings tied beneath the waist. You can also stay overnight in this village, but the only way to do this is to arrange it through a trekking agency in Luang Namtha town.
Walking through the village and up to the waterfall is a scenic and easy walk; there are some well-placed, flat stepping stones across one part of the river and small bridge, and the rest of the walk is fairly flat terrain up to the waterfall.
In dry season there isn’t a huge amount of water pumping out, but it’s still a pleasant and scenic and peaceful spot to spend some time. You can swim at the waterfall too, if you want to. In wet season there is a lot more water, and the look of the waterfall can actually vary from day to day depending on the amount of rain the day before.
Some photos of the lovely Nam De waterfall are here.