Soooooooo….I’m in Luang Namtha, Laos. NOTE: Since you may not be inclined to do the research yourself, I’ve invited the prototypical, documentary-style, voiceover man to over-dub a few excerpts from wikitravel.org as well as the namtha-river-expericence-laos.com website for today’s episode. see text in blue.Okay, narrator, you’re up!
Luang Namtha lies on the banks of the Nam Tha river, and the meaning of the name is “The area (luang) around the Tha river (nam Tha)”.[Wikipedia]
Now, that I’m here…What to do. What to do.
The international award-winning Nam Ha Ecotourism Project was established in 2000 as the first community-based ecotourism project in Laos. …. organize community-base ecotourism-forest trekking, Hiking, Kayaking, Rafting, Biking, River trips and Village home-stays-designed to produce economic benefits for local people, protect cultural heritage and raise funds for environmental conservation. [namtha-river-expericence-laos.com]
So, let’s see. I could go trekking. Luang Namtha is known for its trekking adventures. I could do a 1, 2 or 3-day trek.
No. I like to be on my own clock. Maybe next time.
I could go whitewater rafting. I did that once many years ago with some college friends. It was fun. Been there. Done that.
I could rent a moped and go out on my own and see the countryside. Now that’s appealing, except, it’s a bit noisy, and based on the way I like to travel, it’s a bit cumbersome.
Waitaminit! I know! Just at the street entrance to Zuela Guesthouse, I saw some bicycles for rent. It’s only 10,000 kip/day to rent one.
Now, 10,000 of anything is a lot of things, but that’s about $1.20US. I can deal with that. It’s quiet, easy to maneuver, plus I can get some exercise and work up a sweat, and an appetite. And, I’ll still be contributing to the local economy! Yep. cycling through Laos. That’s the ticket!
I’ll head north out of Namtha towards Muangsing.
Luang Namtha is a mountainous province, located in northwestern Laos bordering Myanmar (Burma) and China with 5 districts (Namtha, Muang Sing, Vieng Phoukha, Muang Long and Nalea) and a total land area of 9,325 square kilometers. The population in 2005 was about 152,285 people or some 16 people per square kilometer. [namtha-river-expericence-laos.com
Lush vegetation, clean air….
Dam. That’s a lot of water. (get it?)
These kids’ bicycle chain had come off and gotten wedged between the gear and the wheel. I pulled it free for them while they stared and pointed at me. What? Haven’t you ever seen a Jamaican in Laos before?
Most people in Luang Namtha live in small rural villages and practice agriculture as their main occupation. There are over 17 ethnic minority groups in the province, making it perhaps the most ethnically diverse place in the entire country. [namtha-river-expericence-laos.com]
Forget the glass house in the desert. My new dream home is a wooden summer retreat in the mountains of northern Laos.
Ended up riding 30 kilometers….15 out
….and 15 back
Luang Namtha province has a wide range of guesthouses. With the prospects of getting more tourists with the new No.3 Road and the upgraded international airport, many new guesthouses have been built in recent times and new hotels are being planned in the center of Luang Namtha town. in Luang Namtha Province there are about 73 hotels and guesthouses with 951 beds and 144 restaurants. [namtha-river-expericence-laos.com
And, speaking of restaurants, after a day of cycling, there’s nothing better than to replenish the nutrients than with a Minority Restaurant Happy Meal!
Fried rice with vegetables….(I’ve found it a challenge to get brown rice at restaurants, so white will have to do this time)
I think I had a third dish, but I really got into it and forgot to have it pose for a photo.
To do my part to make life more pleasant for vegan nomads as well as the restaurateurs who serve them, I tweaked the Wikitravel.org mention of Vanxai’s Minority Restaurant and added a link to his website. Check it out at: http://wikitravel.org/en/Luang_Namtha