Trip OverviewAdventure & challenge kayak on Nam Tha River, explore colorful of ethnic minorities along the river such as: Black Tai, Mien Hmong (Lanten) & Mon-Khmer (Khmu), they are different of life & culture, wild life can be seen while paddling after 2 km of paddle on your right hand side is Nam Ha NPA with many exciting rapid.
Tour ID: NT-KY-01
River: Nam Tha River.
Paddle approx. 4-5 hours, 20 Km.
Difficulty level: Adventure Moderate.
ItineraryThe day begins at the Boat Landing with some basic paddle instruction and equipment familiarization before taking to the river in single or double kayaks. The Nam Tha meanders through changing forest types, inhabited by animals, such as tiger and barking deer and a great variety of birds. The border of the Nam Ha Protected Area is reached in the Lanten village of Ban Sope Tud. Various sets of exciting but safe rapids lead up to a lunch break on the banana leave near the riverside.
After a typical Lao picnic, there is time for relaxation and a refreshing swim. The next paddling stretch takes the group to the Khmu village of Ban Sop Sim Noy. Kayaking ends after the confluence of the Nam Ha and Nam Tha Rivers, from where a pick-up takes us for the return to Luang Namtha.
Note: The River is best for rafting from July to November, for kayaking from July to December. Low water levels from January-June may make kayaking rocky.
Village on the Bank of Nam Tha River.
Ban Mai (Black Tai).
The first village downstream is Ban Mai. Make up seven percent of the population of Luang Namtha province, Tai dam are a Tai speaking group whose homeland is Dien Bien Phu in the Northern Vietnam. The first Tai dam villages are believed to have been established here during the 1890s, in response to the devastation caused by marauding “ Black Banner“ Haw Chinese Bandits from Yunan. Why they are called Black Tai is not agree upon by scholars, but some believe the name taken from Black River in Vietnam. In this minority can make silk, bamboo baskets, tray containing worms and the bright yellow cocoons underneath some of the houses.
Ban Sope tud (Lantan).
After leaving the plains, the river runs through forest-covered hills passes several Lanten villages. Lanten people establish their village near permanent streams and subsequently are sometimes referred to as Laohuay or “stream” Lao. The Lanten emigrated from China in search of stability and new mountain rice fields. They are recognizable by their dark indigo clothing and the women’s and striking silver jewelry. Upon reaching the end of childhood, Lanten women wear their swept up in a traditional style and also shave their eyebrows. The Lanten language still strong and male elders continue to read and write Lanten script base on Chinese characters. They practice a synthesis of animism and Taoism, focused on lineage of ancestors and on village spirits. Lanten rituals often use wooden masks and handmade bamboo-fiber paper. During the dry season, paper making can often be seen along river banks near Lanten villages.
Ban Sopsim (Khmu).
Part of Mon-Khmer branch of Austro-Asiatic family, about 500,000 Khmu represents one of the largest ethnic groups in Lao PDR. The Khmu settled the area of present day Lao PDR several thousand years I advance of the Tai people dominate. The Khmu are not Buddhist but practice their own form of animism, many traditional animist ceremonies are on longer performed, ritual meal offerings are often made to placate the spirits upon whom the rice harvest depends. When a traditional ceremony is underway, a woven bamboo Taleo will be place at the entrance to village. If you are permitted to enter, do not disturb people involve the ceremonies or touch any altars or ritual items. Ask your guide if you are unsure.
- An experienced government certified, English speaking tour guide
- Covered transport with an experienced certified driver
- Kayaks & river equipment
- Drinking water during the trip
- Provincial tax on net income
- Tour permit & village fund
What to bring:
Hat, sun-screen, clothes/shoes to get wet, warm change of clothes for the evening, mosquito repellent, sarong for bathing
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