I got into Luang Namtha around 11:30 am. Once I located and dropped off my stuff at the hotel, it was nearly 12:30 pm. Fortunately, the fellow at the front desk was super helpful and drew me a map of the highlights in the region that could bee seen on a 6 hour motorcycle tour of the villages surrounding the town. I would highly recommend the hotel, the Amandra Village. I got a huge room with a living room for $26 CDN including breakfast.
I rushed out of the hotel and rented a motorcycle for the day. This was the fist place where renting a manual motorbike (more like a semi-automatic, you have to shift gears but they have no clutch) is a killer bargain as compared to hiring an automatic. Renting a manual came out to 50,000 kip (around $8 CDN) vs. 90,000 for an automatic. Granted I got a Chinese-made bargain bike with a broken speedometer, but that’s a bargain (solid brakes is all I cared about).
My first stop was Nam Dee village and its waterfall. To be frank the waterfall is not really worth a visit, but they charge 12,000 kip to get in (which is actually rather expensive in terms of entry fees I paid) but that money goes into the gorgeous surrounding village so I would urge you to make a brief visit. The village is by far one of the prettiest farming towns I have ever visited in my life. My pictures do not do it justice:
The walk to the waterfall, next to lush jungle:
The highlight of my stay in Luang Namtha, the village:
There is a natural loop around the city, so after Nam Dee village, you can head south to make the loop. The road on the way south:
The next major stop was Nam Village, cutting west to make the loop:
Had to cross this bridge on the motorcycle. I dismounted as you would imagine. A woman made the trip ahead of me with her 3 year old daughter. She left her daughter on my side, made the trip across with the bike and then came to retrieve her:
Honey King Village:
Back in Luang Namtha, checking out a Buddhist pagoda:
The northwestern chunk of Luang Namtha:
The Golden Pagoda to the north:
It was close to sundown when I finished the loop, and I still had a good 1.5 hours left before I had to return my scooter. So I decided to check out Nam Dee village again at sundown, I think the pictures turned out much better the second time around:
Since I only had one night in Luang Namtha and I wanted to check out two restaurants for dinner, I ate two dinners. The first was a street food dinner of noodles at the night market. Unfortunately, they were a bit on the bland side, though they did provide tons of condiments to spice things up. And, it was super quick, if you’re in a rush you can order and be out of the place in 10 minutes flat, for under $5 with a beer.
My second meal was at a cool place called the Bamboo Lounge which serves mostly western food but also functions as a training restaurant for Lao servers and cooks. I had a really tasty spicy bean sandwich with homemade bread there. All in all, my time in Luang Namtha was brief but awesome.