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Luang Nam Tha - Lao countryside and kayaking


View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

From Thailand and through Northern Laos was some of the best countryside we've seen. The mountainous landscapes were breathtaking, comparable to Cape Breton, while the road passed by many villages of thatch houses built on stilts. After 2 months in Asia this was the first large area we were in that hadn't really been touched by modern technology.
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Our original plan was to go to the northern end of Laos, known for having more authentic hill tribes and being less touristed than parts of Thailand (the tribes part of the Chiang Mai trek seemed more like a zoo than like a village). Unexpectedly (because working out basic itineraries from a map has worked out well so far), it would have been something like 10 hours each way to get to Muang Sing, which has the best trekking. We settled on only going halfway, to Luang Nam Tha, from where Muang Sing would have been 6 hours each way for 60km of distance on a map. Transport in Laos is generally very bad - takes a long time to cross short distances, and overnight transport is generally not available so instead of getting free lodging on a bus we waste a day each time we have to go from place to place. We checked in to a pretty fancy hotel room for $3.50/night, though we changed place the next day because the plumbing and electrical were both extremely wonky (for example, the bathroom sink tap does nothing: the water is controlled by a knob on the wall, which when turned makes water come out from both a faucet on the wall and the sink).
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Northern Laos in December is pretty cold, about 20C during the day and 5-10C at night. We therefore decided to not do an overnight trek, and instead did a 7-hour river kayaking excursion. It was very hard to keep the kayak straight, and it seemed we paddled faster and went slower than anyone else on the trip. But it was an exciting experience at times, and a chance to get some exercise beyond walking. We also made a couple stops in villages, and a stop where the guides cooked some fish and buffalo they had bought in the morniing.
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Posted by chrisvasil 13:27 Archived in Laos Tagged ecotourism

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