In And Around Luang Nam Tha

Louang Namtha Travel Blog

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Lao scaffolding

When I arrived in Luang Nam Tha I thought it looked like a bit of a ghost town - and a bit of dive. But then it was only five in the morning and I knew it would only really be a launchpad for trekking in the surrounding forest. It felt weird arriving in a place on my own; I hadn't done so since the south of Vietnam and was used to always having at least one travel companion.

Despite being told by French Canadian girl on the overnight bus that it would be hard to find any trekking during low season as she had tried and failed, I managed to sign myself up for one within moments of arrival. That done and done, I had a day to amuse myself in what seemed like a town with very little to amuse one's self.

I decided to hire a bike (seen as I was becoming quite adept on one with all the recent cycling I had been doing) and have a look around the outskirts of town.

The old stupa at Phum Phuk
I headed south, and found the boat landing, with the intention of chartering a boat down the Nam Tha river to the Thai border when it came time for me to depart. I was to discover that such a trip would cost me $168USD. So no chance of that, then; the bus would have to do.

I saddled up and took a dirt track that passed through fields and rice paddies to a hill where I could see That Phum Phuk. The gold stupa has replaced the original stone one that was destroyed by those meddling Yanks in the Secret War while fighting the Vietnamese, in 1966.

A Westerner on a bike still proves great amusement for the locals who will undoubtedly either shout, "sabaidee" (hello), or give you a wave. Some kids thought they would make the fatal error of trying to overtake me at speed. I showed them how top gear on a mountain bike worked while giving them the evilist laugh I could muster. That'll teach them for being weak and young.

After handing back the bike and getting some food, I realised there really is very little to do in LNT to amuse yourself. So I ended up going back to get the bike and cycling at full speed down to where the rice paddies were to admire the sunset. It wasn't long, though, before a group of dogs found my presence offensive and barked me out of their territory. I will lie to save face: they were very big dogs.

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Lao scaffolding
Lao scaffolding
The old stupa at Phum Phuk
The old stupa at Phum Phuk
That Phum Phuk
That Phum Phuk
Evil cows
Evil cows
Not a bad view
Not a bad view
Nothing better than working in the…
Nothing better than working in th…
Sunset
Sunset
Louang Namtha
photo by: edsander