Located on the northeast corner of Laos, Luang Namtha covers an area of 9325 km². Nearly 90% of its land is limestone mountains. This small town is surrounded by hills, trees and villages. It seems very calm and sleepy on her grandiose plateau. Luang Namtha is an ideal travel destination for those who do not enjoy mass tourism.
Luang Namtha literally means 'Royal Palm Sugar' or 'Royal Green River' whose chief town is also called Luang Namtha. This region borders China and Yunnan in the north, Oudomxay province in the east and southeast, Bokeo province in the southwest, Burma in the northwest. The rainy season in Luang Namtha lasts from May to the end of October followed by the cool dry season from November to February. It is the hottest in March and April. The average temperature here falls at about 25 degrees Celsius.
As for the administrative aspect, Luang Namtha is divided into 5 districts including Nale, Namtha, Vieng Phoukha, Muang Sing and Long which are still divided into 380 different village units. Most people live thanks to the agriculture by planting vegetables, rice, maize, cassava, groundnuts, etc., or by raising buffalo, cattle, chickens, fish, and etc. Besides agriculture, tourism contributes a non-small part to the income of local people.
This 'Royal Green River' is always busy during the peak season with hikers from all countries as it has the Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NPA) where you will make excursions on foot, like trekking through the many small villages. Moreover, it is easy to rent a bike or a motorbike to go to the main street towards the bus station and follow the dirt roads that lead to the charming villages. If time permits, discover the village of Muang Sing, known as one of the most beautiful places in Laos with more than 20 temples including Wat Sing Jai and Wat Namkeo; the waterfall at Ban Nam Dee just 5 km from the city center. Making a lazy boat cruise along the Namtha River is also enjoyed by tourists.
The city is centered on the main street, National Road 3A and the night market exposes many handicrafts such as clothing, scarves, bags, silks, jewelery, among its wares.
The dishes in Luang Namtha are often based on sticky rice that is soaked with the fingers in an appetizing vegetable sauce. The accompaniment is chicken and other vegetables.
Below is some information that may be useful when you arrive in Luang Namtha:
- There are money exchange facilities and automated teller machines (ATM), of which the BCEL bank has international networks.
- Rapid internet is available in guest houses or hotels.
- The provincial bus station is 10 km from Luang Namtha and the local station is south of the city center.
- Luang Namtha Airport is just 5km from the city with flights between Luang Namtha and Vientiane.