Set among the mountains in Northern Laos, just a few steps from the border with China, Luang Namtha is a perfect base to explore the natural beauty and villages of the area.
It is the ideal place for trekking, canoeing or simply getting lost in the fields of rice paddies and local tribes.
Here’s what to do and see in Luang Namtha.
What to do and see in Luang Namtha: how to get there
In Luang Namtha there are two bus stations.
The Provincial Station, for the buses departing for Huay Xai, Udomxai or Luang Prabang, is 10 km from the city. Here the map
To reach the centre you need to take a tuk-tuk shared at the cost of 10.000/15.000 kip (you need to bargain! )
The second bus station, which covers destinations within the province (e.g. Muang Sing), is located in the city centre, right next to the guesthouse Amandra Villa. here the map
What to do and see in Luang Namtha: rent a bike or a moped
The centre of Luang Namtha does not offer much in terms of attractions to see, on the other hand the surrounding area is rich in beautiful landscapes. The best way to move around is certainly to rent a moped or if you are trained a mountain bike.
On the main street of the city there are 3 different rental options. Prices start from 15.000 kip for a city bike to 30.000 kip a day for a mountain bike. For motorcycles, a Chinese Zongshen with manual change, costs about 40.000 kip a day but it is definitely not recommended for long journey (e.g. towards Muang Sing). Better investing 10.000 kip more per day for a Honda or spend 70.000 kip for an automatic model.
What to do and see in Luang Namtha: rice fields and local tribes
The landscape around Luang Namtha is really a postcard and the area hosts many different ethnicities including Akha, Yao, Black Tai and Lahu. Getting lost and wandering aimlessly is a good way to explore the area.
Alternatively tourist information in the city centre provides a map with two possible routes, one to do in half a day and a longer one.
Along the road you can see fields of paddy rice and visit some local tribes, where women are engaged in activities such as weaving or processing bamboo reeds.
What to see and do in Luang Namtha: Nam Dee waterfall
In the map provided by the tourist information center, Nam Dee waterfall is also indicated.
It is a small waterfall 5 km from the city centre, reachable by a dirt road on bike or mountain bike.
The cost for entry is 10.000 kip to which you add 2.000 kip for bike parking.
We were there in March in the dry season and there was no water, so it’s not worth going there at that time. <
From the entrance of the waterfall there is a trekking route in the jungleof about an hour.)
What to see and do in Luang Namtha: trekking
One of the amin reasons to visit Luang Natha is the protected area of 2,224 square kilometers that houses in addition to an uncontaminated nature made of mountains and rivers, small tribes and wildlife such as leopards and Asian Elephants (very rare to see them during trekking.)
Along the main road of Luang Namtha there are several agencies offering different types of trekking for duration and difficulty, for night accommodation (you can sleep on banana leaves, or in local tribe huts or still in accommodation for tourists) and for activities included (Kayak, mountain bike…).
What to see and do in Luang Namtha: night market
There are various options for dinner in Luang namtha, but definitely the cheapest one and where you will find local people is the night market.
It takes place every night in the dedicated area dalle 18:00 at 23:00 .
Among the various banquets you can find soups, rice dishes and noodles with vegetables or meat, papaya salad, grilled skewers and chicken meat and roasted duck.
PS: for those who miss bread, there is an excellent bakery right across the street from the entrance of the night market.