Trip OverviewTrekking in the Nam Ha National Protected Area “Nam Ha NPA”- an ASEAN Heritage Site; Experience and learning of how to accommodate to your jungle environment, sleeping and eating in the rainforest by using nature’s products such as: cooking bamboo vessels, a banana leaf camp, looking for food, medicinal plants and learn native skills for hunting wildlife; Participate in Community Based Tourism activities, such as: husking rice by feet or hand, Khmu traditional Baci-ceremony, watch a blacksmith at work, making bamboo basket “bamboo toys such as: birds, frogs, a simple cup, etc… Unique experience in the homelands of the Akha, Khmu, Lahu and Lantén ethnic minority groups; they proudly maintain their way of life, culture, and traditions; Hiking through rainforest, beautiful nature, mountainous landscapes, survival skills in the wilderness, topped off with splashing in or gazing at a hidden waterfall.
Tour ID: TK-NT-48.
Trekking Area: Nam Ha National Protected Area-an ASEAN Heritage Site.
Daily Hike approx. 5-6 hours.
Departure: 9:00 AM during October-May; Closed service from June-September.
Duration: 7 days/6 nights; the first night Akha home stay, the second night Akha jungle camp, the third night at Nam Ha home stay, the fourth night at Lahu’s mountain Eco-lodge, the fifth night Nam Ha jungle camp, and the last one at Khmu’s riverside Eco-lodge.
Difficulty: Beginners-advanced; short hill climbs and descents walks up and down of hills.
ItineraryDay 1: Ban Chaluernsouk-Ban Phou Varn “Akha Village”. Approx. 5-6 hours.
Departure from our office is at 9:00 AM by Tuk-Tuk. We stop for a few minutes at the morning market to purchases some food and necessary things, and then continue to the Khmu village of Ban Chaluernsouk where our trek begins. Hike deep into the Nam Ha National Protected Area. On the trail the local guides will share some of the native experience and knowledge about edible and poisonous plants, and about medicinal plants that include wild mushrooms, cardamoms, rattans, bamboo shoots, wild bananas stalks, and so on. After lunch, continue and visit waterfall, next hike to the mountaintop where you walk along through the agricultural area of the Akha people. On the mountain you will enjoy the excellent view of the Akha village amidst the dense jungle vegetation of the mountains. You will arrive at Ban Phou Varn (Akha village) around 4 PM. While your hosts and guides prepare your dinner you can either relax, help in cooking while learning about the traditional cooking cuisine, walk around the village observing traditional life, or have a beer at the local ‘shop’. After dinner you receive a massage from the Akha women, this is a treat traditionally reserved for guests in the village.
Day 2: Ban Phou Varn-Akha Jungle Camp. Approx. 5-6 hours.
The early morning is the best time to see Akha lifestyle, as they get up early to prepare food, feed and give water to the livestock. Be the honored guest of an indigenous people that prides itself in preserving the old spiritual ways and traditions. After breakfast you continue to hike uphill through the mountain (more than 1,520 metres above sea level) you will get to a point see the Phou Varn villagers from the perspective of an eagle. After that climb uphill, you will certainly not take for granted the scope you get of the Nam Ha NPA. The path gradually continues up and down, through primary and secondary forest. After approx. 3 hours of trekking, you will make a stopover for a traditional Akha lunch in the forest together with your guides. Thereafter you will continue walking toward a nice primary forest. Around 4:00 PM we will call it a day and settle in the Nam Ha jungle camp. The native local guide will prepare your dinner as native at home in the jungle would do, which is: boiling water with cardamoms, making soup in bamboo vessels, etc. After dinner we go to bed in the Akha jungle camp.
Day 3: Akha Jungle Camp-Ban Nam Ha (Khmu Village) Appro 5-6 hours.
After breakfast continue walk on the small path through the jungle forest, mountains, rivers, primary and secondary forest. The traditional picnic lunch will be served at midday. After lunch approx. 3 hours walk along the Nam Ha Mountain and downhill to Ban Nam Ha village, where we overnight and join in tourist oriented activities. You will join in and try out some activities created by a small native community that is now part of a community based tourism village and will show and teach you skills, such as: husking rice by feet or hand, a Khmu traditional Baci-ceremony, Khmu sword dance… After dinner you may want to listen to a village story from the homestay owner before you go to sleep in the Khmu traditional house.
Day 4: Ban Nam Ha-Ban Nam Khouy “Lahu Village”. Approx. 5-6 hours.
Next morning after coffee you may see or participate in activities such as: a blacksmith at work, weaving bamboo baskets or making gadgets/toys/souvenirs from bamboo, such as: birds, frogs, a simple cup, etc. Then have breakfast with the host family. Thereafter, get the Tuk Tuk from the village to Ban Prang (Khmu village) around 10 minutes, the local Khmu guide whose expertise and knowledge of the rain forest will guarantee you safe short walk around the village, to later embark you on a hike through the verdant paddy fields, following the same path the natives, on a daily bases, use on their way to work. Then you trek deep into the heart of the Nam Ha National Protected Area (Nam Ha NPA). Your guide will explain you all about the medicinal plants you may encounter on your journey, what the natives, traditionally, have been practicing for eons in forest use and while you’re at it, spot wildlife footprints for you. Laotian native style lunch will be served nearby the river. After lunch the trek continues through the rich jungle all the way to a panoramic viewpoint, which overlooks the Nam Ha NPA territory. Thereafter, in the late afternoon, you will arrive Ban Nam Khouy, a Lahu village, which is nestled high up in the hills. While waiting dinner you may want to walk around the village, marvel at the ever-scenic sunset, appreciate the unlimited view of a mountainous skyline, and learn a thing or two about Lahu culture and traditions. After dinner lay your head to rest in the Lahu built Eco-Lodge.
Day 5: Ban Nam Khouy-Nam Ha Jungle Camp. Approx. 5-6 hours.
In the early morning you do not want to miss the sun rising from behind a range of mountainous. After sharing breakfast with your village hosts it is time for two hours of hiking through the Nam Ha NPA mountain landscape and nice jungle forest. Picnic lunch will be served en route. It is composed of some natural herbs and veggies collected along the way, such as: mushrooms, cardamoms, rattans, bamboo shoots, wild bananas, stalks, etc. We will arrive in the Nam Ha rain forest camp in the late afternoon. Next, the guides will show you how to set up a jungle camp, make bamboo vessels for cooking rice, bamboo, and tea from cardamoms. You may learn how to do it or simply sit back and watch. After dinner you’ll overnight in the rain forest camp.
Day 6: Nam Ha Jungle Camp-Ban Nalan. Approx. 5-6 hours.
In the early morning you will many an animals scream from the higher mountain and nearly the jungle camp. The guides will encourage you to take part in the preparation of breakfast, show you how to craft simple coffee cups, bamboo toys, spoons and chopsticks from bamboo and leaves. They will also brew a medicinal tea from wild plants collected along the way. After breakfast we walk on through jungle, mountains and over rivers. Lunch will be prepared in the traditional native way along the forest path. We will arrive Ban Nalan around 4:00 PM where we spend one more night in the Khmu’s Riverside Eco-Lodge. Our hosts prepare a dinner in native style, whilst you take time to swim and bathe in the river (no nudity or skimpy clothes, please). Walk around the village; talk respectfully with the ever-friendly villagers.
Day 7: Ban Nalan-Ban Namkoy-Ban Namlue. Approx. 5-6 hours.
The last day follows the Nam Ha River, through stands of large hardwood trees and bamboo patches, to Ban Nalan Tai (Khmu Village) and Ban Namkoy (Lanten Villae). The trail becomes quite challenging as it climbs under a pristine tree canopy teeming with bird life, and ends up on a ridge with a stunning view of Luang Namtha town, visit the last village of Lanten (Ban Namlue), that is, before the final descent and a ride back to town with memories to will last you a lifetime.
- An English speaking tour leader and a native guide, who knows the rain forest, indigenous traditions, and cultures, like the back of his hand.
- Transportation pick-up and back to your hotel Tuk-Tuk or Songthaew (a two bench pick-up truck).
- Accommodation: Akha home stay, Akha jungle camp, Nam Ha home stay, Lahu’s mountain Eco-lodge, Nam Ha jungle camp, and the last Khmu’s riverside Eco-lodge with blanket, sleeping-mat, and mosquito nets are supplied.
- Community Based Tourism activities such as: husking rice, Khmu traditional Baci-ceremony, Khmu sword dance, a blacksmith at work, bamboo basket weaving “bamboo toys such as: birds, frogs, cup, etc.
- Meals-lunch x 7, dinner x 6 and breakfast x 6.
- Drinking water during the trip.
- Trekking permit “Nam Ha NPA Foundation”, Laos National Tourism Development Fund and Provincial tax on net income.
- Village service and village tourism Fund.
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