Luang Namtha

With beautiful mountainous terrain, Luang Namtha is an excellent base for exploring natural wonders


Luang Namtha is located in the extreme north of the country, adjacent to Myanmar (Burma) and China, the two provinces of Bokeo and Oudomxai. True ethnic mosaic, it includes 39 groups such as Khmu, Akha, H’Mong, Yao or Mien, Tai Lue, Tai Neua, Tai Dam, etc. The province is home to Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area, listed as natural heritage of ASEAN. Many rare species of fauna and flora live in this vast area extending over 222,400ha. The national park offers many trekking possibilities from one day to three days. It is easy to organize a course with “eco-guides” of the region.

This is a mountainous region with many old temples. Unfortunately, many have been damaged during the war. The capital of the same name, Luang Namtha, is a large village built around a straight avenue. At its periphery are many villages populated by ethnic minorities. The province is divided into 5 districts including Namtha, Nale, Vieng Phoukha, Long and Sing (Muang Sing). 

Tourist attractions

Muang Namtha

The Talat Sao, or the morning market (Facing the bus station)

This market is open all day despite its name. Merchants sell everything from hand-woven fabrics and wooden Buddha figures to electric rice cookers and sneakers.

That Phoum Pouk

It is located on a hill near Ban Nam Ngaen and dominates the valley. The stupa built in 1628 was destroyed during a US bombing in 1966. The ruins were preserved with the new stupa, built in 2003. The stupa was the demarcation point between the kingdoms of Lanna (Chiang Mai) and Lane Xang (Luang Prabang).

Luang Namtha Museum

Display local and national crafts including collections of clothing, traditional utensils and objects of worship. Khmu bronze drums.

Muang Sing

Nice little town located 2-hour-drive from Luang Namtha whose architecture reflects Chinese, Burmese, French and Tai Lue influences. Muang Sing was the outpost of the kingdom of Sip Song Phan Na (Yunnan) and marked by the transition from the old “Chinese Road”. The city is a cultural mosaic where cross of numerous ethnic groups such as Ikko, Lolo, Lanten, Tai Dam, Tai Lue, H’Mong.

Tai Lue is the largest Buddhist community and has built more than twenty vats in and around Muang Sing. The most important is Wat Luang on the main street.

That Xieng Tung

The date of construction is unknown. Nevertheless, it is the largest religious monument in the region and it is said to contain the Adam’s apple of Buddha. A large religious festival takes place every year during the full moon of the 12th month (November) and brings together the Buddhist communities of the Tai Lue in China, Myanmar and Thailand.

Nam Keo Waterfall

2km away from That Xieng Tung, this is the place of the old French garrison dating back from the French colonial era. It housed Moroccan and Senegalese troops. A restoration project is underway; the garrison should host a collection of Muang Sing object dating from the colonial era.

Vieng Phoukha

Vieng Phoukha is actually a modest burg located on the new road from China to Thailand, Botene to Houay Say. The city is an ideal starting point for forest trek. An eco-guides service is located in the village. The forest hides many caves including the impressive grotto “Tham” Kao Rao, near Ban Nam Eng.


Botene is the border post with China, facing Mengla. This is also a special area of development since 2004 and for the next 50 years: Boten Golden City project that some already call the “Laos Vegas”

How to get there

By plane from Vientiane, Huay Say and Luang Prabang

By bus from Huay Say, Muang Say and Botene

From China, at the border post Botene – Mengla (China)

From Thailand, via Huay Say (Chiang Khong, Thailand). The new road is excellent and the journey takes only two hours to Luang Namtha city.

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