Laos is a very spread out country so, if you come to Laos for a holiday there are many options of places to visit. This is why you should seriously consider choosing to come to Luang Namtha in the countries far north:
1. The food! The food of forested northern Laos is some of the most delicious and exotic in Laos; due to the abundance of jungle produce, lush growing conditions and cultural melting pot of ethnic tribes in the area. Luang namtha is famous for its Kao soi (noodle soup with pork mince and fermented peanut paste), local fried rice and many, many other dishes.
2. Close proximity to other countries: Luang Namtha is very close to both the Chinese border (Boten; near Kunming and Jinghong in Yunnan provence) and Thai border (Chiang kong; near Chiang rai and Chiang mai) perfect for onward travel.
3. The Namha NPA: Think a stunning 222,000 square hectares of mountains covered by pristine jungle with rivers running through it. This huge national park is home to a huge biodiversity of plants, animals, insects and birds. The best part of it is that you can trek and kayak through it with a guide and homestay at some amazing villages that that have had their livelyhood tied in with the jungle for centuries. A truly awesome experience.
4. Affordable and chilled out town: The town of Luang Namtha has many good guesthouses, hotels and restaurants (and even 2 disco’s), it is a chilled out place to base yourselves for a while you explore the surrounding area. It is one of the cheapest towns in Laos to eat and stay at. The roads are the best and the internet is the fastest in the country. You can be sitting enjoying the espresso and WiFi from a soft chair and 5km away be chilling in a bamboo rice paddy hut or walking through a tiny ancient village by the river.
5. Self guided adventures close to town: Its easy to rent a bicycle or motorbike for a day or more and explore some nearby minority tribe villages, rice paddies, temples and other local attractions all within a few km of the town centre. For the more adventurous why not motorbike father afield to cultural attraction Muang Sing or Vieng Phouka with its cave and “off the beaten track” trekking.
7. The rice paddies: the middle of Luang Namtha valley is a 30 km stretch of seemless rice paddies surrounded by 360′ of mountains on its borders. It is very beautiful and a great place to base yourself to watch the sunset over the mountains. Witnessing nature from a small bamboo hut in the middle of the paddies for a few hours is a priceless experience.
8. Trekking, kayaking and homestays in the Nam ha NPA: There are a lot of unforgettable authentic adventures to be had in the mountainous national park. Meet some new friends as you form a trekking group then go out into the wild to experience jungle life and stunning natural beauty with your guides.
9. Fantastic cultural diversity: If you like the idea of visiting many different ethnic minority villages and learning about their contrasting way of live and belief systems Luang Namtha is for you. There are about 20 different ethnic tribes that call Luang Namtha province home, in just one day it is possible to visit up to 10 different minority villages where different costumes are worn, different languages are spoken and different traditions and ways of life are adhered to. Most of these tribes live as they have for many hundreds of years, making it a really authentic experience especially when compared to more developed countries like Laos’ neighbours.
10. Nice relaxed pre or post trekking ambiance: Luang Namtha really is a pleasant place to hang out for a few days. The local people are very nice and kind, the weather is temperate and mostly sunny, there is an amazing fresh market where you can see jungle produce and local fruits, vegetable and herbs on display, there is also a daily night market where you can sample all the local foods and even seasonal favourites like bats and Rhinoceros beetles. You can visit some really cool chilled out villages and temples. There are also some cool places to chill out in town that have super fast WiFi, serve great cocktails and excellent western food like Forest Retreat. Hang outs like these are great places to chill out and meet like minded travellers and discuss trekking options and share travel experiences.