In Luang Nam Tha, the premium ecotourism destination in Laos, the Mekong and even Southeast Asia, you can choose from gentle day trips to strenuous hiking and rafting in an area known for its ethnic diversity.
What to experience ?
With its incredible diversity of tribal peoples, forested mountain ranges and wild, scenic rivers Luang Namtha with the Nam Ha National Protected Area is a must see for anyone in search of a bit of adventure, spectacular landscapes, dense forests, and people; more than 20 different ethnic groups (Akha, Lanten, Kamu, Hmong, Tai Leu, etc.) live in the surrounding area, many only accessible by walking trails and seldom visited.
You have a wide range of trips from gentle day walks or bike trips through the villages and rice paddies of Luang Namtha valley to four-day trekking and rafting adventures: the Ban Nalan (2 days moderate trek with the Luang Namtha Eco Guides Service) or Nammat Treks (3 days moderate), the Nam Ha Experience (2 days kayaking), the Akha Trail (3 days difficult trek), Namtha Valley Biking Tour (1 day gentle cycling) or the Nam Ha – Namtha River Adventure (3 day kayaking trip up to the Thai border) and many more than can be listed here.
On your way, you will be hosted by the Akha, Lanten, Khmu, Leu and may become an actor of their daily life by taking part in activities such as animal feeding, rice planting, cotton spinning, etc. Boating along the Nam Tha River is also a great opportunity to be immersed in the fishermen’s way of life.
How does it help ?
Lao ecotourism was first started there as a UNESCO project in the Nam Ha Protected Area, then supported by several organisations among which ADB, as well as the private sector. All of the tours operated are designed to ensure local communities and service providers are involved and benefit as much as possible to create an incentive to stop hunting, poaching and deforestation.
The locally run Eco Guides Services provide pre-departure orientations to their guests on safety, what to expect and how to behave in a culturally sensitive way when they visit villages. Additionally, all visitors to the Nam Ha Protected Area are required to purchase an entry permit which goes toward the management of the park. The use of trained guides, policies for minimizing waste and carrying out rubbish, and limits on group size all help to minimize environmental and cultural impacts.
The project has become a worldwide known case study; studies have shown that for a typical two- to three-day trek approximately 30% of your total payment for the tour stays with the villages while 25% goes to local drivers and guides. Your tour will spread the benefits of tourism to remote communities and encourage biodiversity conservation.
Luang Nam Tha Provincial Tourism Office
Visitor Information Center, behind the night market, Ban Phonesay, Luang Nam Tha, Luang Nam Tha Province
Phone: +856 (0) 86 211 534; +856 (0)86 312 047
Tourism offices in Vieng Phoukha district (tel: +856  20 2393534) and Muang Sing district (tel: +856  20 2393534)
For more information on ecotours & trekking www.ecotourismlaos.com/luangnamtha
See also the Luang Namtha Travel Website at www.luangnamtha.com for comprehensive information on ecotourism and the different ethnic groups living in the province.
Map: Marker indicates Luang Namtha province not the Luang Namtha travel