Luang Namtha is located in the north of Laos and is the capital of the province of Laos of the same name. Luang Namtha city lies on the bank of the river Tha and borders with China on the northern front and Burma on the northwest.
Luang Namtha attracts nature lovers from all over and provides a base for trekking and biking to the nearby tribal villages. It is worth visiting for tourists looking to explore the natural beauty of Laos and to know the ethnic communities.
The province is known for sugar cane and rubber production with plantations spread around hundreds of acres. The Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area is also located here.
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The Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area - The conservation centre is home to Pha Yeung Waterfalls, Kao Rao Caves and the Nam Ha Important Bird Area. You can spot the wildlife sometimes on group tours organized by the centre. You can directly buy the tickets at the entrance of the park.
Nam Dee Waterfall - Located just outside the town is the Nam dee waterfall, which is at its glorious best during the monsoon season. You can visit the waterfall on a rental mountain bike, making the whole experience more adventurous. You can also go on a trek that goes through a local village adding to the charm of the trip. You can see villagers indulging in their daily activities such as making paper, sewing, making crafts and dying clothes with indigo.
Luang Namtha Museum - Primarily an anthropological museum, the Luang Namtha Museum contains a collection of objects related to the daily lives of the local people as well the close-by hill tribes. In the museum, you can see artefacts such as ceramics, weapons, crafts and clothing.
Wat Luang Korn - It is one of the important ancient temples in Luang Namtha province worth visiting, along with other smaller but prominent ones - Wat Sing Jai and Wat Namkeo.
Herbal saunas: Luang Namtha is quite popular among tourists for its herbal saunas. There are several of them, but the most famous of them is located near the Classic bar. Although simple in appearance, the sauna has all the necessary amenities you might need, such as lockers, shower and changing room. Both male and female have segregated sections. You can also opt for a body massage for as low as 30,000 LAK.
Trekking: Luang Namtha is a top-rated destination among trekkers, and Nam Ha Protected Area is the perfect choice for trekking among the nature lovers. There are also treks which go to diverse hill tribes. In the city, you can easily find several trekking agencies to help you plan your trek, which costs between 100 to 250 USD per person depending on your package.
You can indulge in several adventure activities such as visiting remote villages, going to the waterfalls, jungle trekking, kayaking and off-road biking.
Historical evidence suggests that Luang Namtha has a history of more than 6000 years. Bordering China, a majority of the inhabitants were of Chinese origin during this time. In the 16th century, it was occupied by the Siamese and then by the Burmese and also the Vietnamese.
The province today consists of people belonging to ethnic tribes originating from all these countries that include Tai Dam, Tai Neua, Tai Kao, Akha, Lanten, Yao and Lahu from Sipsongpanna. The town is also nicknamed Royal Sugar Palm or Royal Green River.
During the recent years, the city played was a central battleground for the Battle of Luang Namtha in 1962 – a war fought between the Royal Lao Army, the Pathet Lao and People's Army of Vietnam. The Royal Lao Army was defeated in the battle and had to retreat southward for 150 kilometres.
Day 1: Plan your first day to spend in the biodiversity centre, where you can explore the waterfalls, caves and the bird area.
Day 2: You can head to Luang Namtha Museum and then to Nam Dee waterfalls in the late afternoon to enjoy a good swim.
Day 3: If you have an additional day, you can plan a day hike or visit the nearby rubber and cane farms. These tours can be booked at your guesthouse or hotel.
Anyone who is looking to get out of the temple trails in Laos and instead want to explore the wonders of nature will enjoy Luang Namtha. Plenty of natural and safe trails around leading to beautiful waterfalls and traditional villages make it an excellent destination.
Its remote location makes Luang Namtha a less popular choice for people traveling with less time in Laos. Also, if you don't enjoy hiking or physical activities, it might be not a preferred place.
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