alexametrics Luang Namtha
Luang Namtha Golden Stupa
Luang Namtha Golden Stupa
Source: Tumfoto / shutterstock
Luang Namtha

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Luang Namtha

Luang Namtha Province is located in the upper Northwest of Laos, bordered by Myanmar and China.

39 ethnic groups make up the population of 180,000 in Luang Namtha. Each group has its own dialect, culture and lifestyle, but coexists peacefully - a reflection of traditional solidarity. Most people in Luang Namtha live in small rural villages and practice agriculture as their main occupation.

The Nam Ha National Protected Area covers nearly 30% of the province's land area and is well known for a range of ecotourism acitivities. Due to the high altitude, the weather here can get quite cool, with temperatures dropping to as low as zero degrees in December and January. From May to October, the Southwestern monsoon brings with it annual rains, thereby marking the beginning of the new agricultural cycle.

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Brief History

Luang Namtha has a tug-of-war past where it was taken over by big powers one after another. In the 1500s, the province became a Burmese vassal and was taken over by the Siamese in the early 1800s.

In 1587, 17 Tai Yuan families arrived in Nam Tha Valley, Muang Houa Tha from Thailand and settled down there. However, in the early 1700s, the Tai Yuan left the valley as it came under the influence of Sipsongpanna Kingdom for Muang Sing and Sayabouly Province, leaving the valley abandoned for almost 160 years. In 1890, the Tai Yuan returned to the valley to re-establish Muang Houa Tha. They were only able to enjoy its independence for 2 years before being administered as a French colony.

The province was under the administration of French till the late 1950s where France lose the battle at Dien Bien Phu and left the province. Soon after, it was caught in a conflict where there was war between the Pathet Lao forces and US-backed Royal Lao Army. The Pathet Lao forces were able to seize Muang Houa Tha on 6 May 1962 and renamed it to Luang Namtha.

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Overall Weather

Luang Namtha has three seasons:

- Cool-dry (November to February): During this period, the average temperature hovers around 20C. The temperature may drop as low as 11C during this period. The temperature may soar as high as 27C as it approaches the hot-dry season. Please take note that the temperature drops rapidly especially after sunset, one should bring warm clothing to guard against the cold. However, it is the best period to visit the place due to its cool and comfortable temperature.

- Hot-dry (March to April): During this time, the average temperature hovers around 27C. The temperature may drop as low as 15C especially at the beginning of the hot-dry season. The temperature may also soar as high as 33C as it approaches the end of the season. It is advisable to stay hydrated during this period to stay healthy.

- Rainy season (May to October): During this season, the average temperature hovers around 25C. The temperature may soar as high as 33C especially at the beginning of the rainy-season and drop as low as 16C as it approaches the cool-dry season. Rain is expected to be the heaviest in July and August. Do bring along an umbrella or raincoat to shield against the rain. Do be extra careful during the trekking of Nam Ha National Protected Area as it could be muddy and slippery due to the rain.

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Travelling to Luang Namtha

Luang Namtha is accessible by air, land and river.

The most popular overland routes to and from the province start and end at Bokeo Province’s Ban Houey Xay and Luang Prabang. There is an international border crossing at Boten (China-Laos) and regular air service from Vientiane on Lao Airlines and Lao Skyway (in total, at least three times a day). For the adventurous, you can journey up either the Mekong River from Ban Houay Xay to Xieng Kok in Muang Long or the Namtha River, which also originates in Ban Houy Xay.

Once you have reached the province, local transport by tuk tuk, bus or songtaeow is inexpensive and easy to arrange. For short trips, many people get around by renting bicycles.

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Flights to Luang Namtha

Domestic flights from Vientiane

12:30 pm

13:30 pm

  Lao Skyway 220

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12:30 pm

13:30 pm

  Hanh Air 16472

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12:40 Pm

13:35 pm

  Lao Airlines 601                            

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15:00 pm

16:00 pm

  Lao Skyway 208

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15:00 pm

16:00 pm

  Hanh Air 16466

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Public Bus details in Luang Namtha

Transportation from other Provinces to Luang Nam Tha

Departure

Destination

Kind of Bus

Distance

Departure Time

price*

Remark

Houanphanh

Luang Nam Tha

 

 

10:00am

210,000 Kip

 

Oudomxay

Luang Namtha

 

115 Km

08:00am
11:00am
15:00pm

32,000 Kip

 

Xieng Khouang, Southern Bus Station 2

Luang Nam Tha

Sitting bus

 

07:30am

09:00am

180,000

Maybe Sitting Bus or Sleeping Bus

Sleeping bus

 

200,000 Kip

 

Transportation from Luang Nam Tha to other Provinces

Departure

Destination

Kind of Bus

Distance

Departure Time

price*

Remark

Luang Nam Tha (Provincial Bus Station)

Huay Xai

 

187 Km

09:00am

12:30pm

16:00pm

60,000 Kip

4 hours

Udomxai

 

120 Km

08:30am

12:00pm

14:30pm

40,000 Kip

4 hours

Pak Mong

 

180 Km

08:30am

80,000 Kip

7 hours

Luang Prabang

 

300 Km

09:00am

90,000 Kip

9 hours

Vientiane

 

700 Km

08:30am

14:30pm

200,000 Kip

18 hours

Luang Nam Tha (District Bus Station)

Boten

 

60 Km

09:30am

12:00pm

25,000 Kip

1 hour

Muang Sing

 

58 Km

08:00am

09:30am

11:00am

12:30pm

14:00pm

15:30pm

25,000 Kip

2.5 hours

Muang Long

 

110 Km

08:30am

50,000 Kip

5 hours

 

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Getting Around in Luang Nam Tha

Getting around

Tuk tuks, bicycles, motorbikes and sawng taews are a good way to travel around Luang Namtha. Tuk tuks can be hired in Luang Namtha or in Sing Towns which can bring you around the various attractions. Bicycles and motorbikes can be rented in the towns for independent travellers. Sawng taews can be boarded at bus stations which can bring you around the different districts and usually leave in the morning when its full.