Trekking 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 rain forest 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, the Khmu, and the Lantén ethnic minority groups; they proudly maintain their way of life, culture, and traditions; Hiking through rain forest, beautiful nature, mountainous landscapes, survival skills in the wilderness, topped off with splashing in or gazing at a hidden waterfall.
- Tour ID: TK-NT-47.
- 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: 6 days/5 nights; the first night Akha home stay, the second night Akha jungle camp, the third night Khmu home stay, the fourth night mountain jungle camp and the last Khmu’s riverside Eco-lodge.
- Difficulty: Beginners-advanced; short hill climbs and descents walks up and down of hills.
Day 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 meters 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 Home stay) Approx 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 home stay owner before you go to sleep in the Khmu traditional house.
Day 4: Ban Nam Ha-Mountain Jungle Camp. Appro 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. Next, the local guide from the village will join you on your trip to get you safely through rice paddies and up into the mountains of Nam Ha NPA. Along the trail you will see many types of NTPs (Non Timber Forest Products), many bird species, monkeys are occasionally spotted or heard; your guide will teach you how to make a bird call, or bark like a deer, mimic squirrel sounds. They will also share some of their ancestral knowledge and skills about traditional medicines. Lunch is served in the shade near the waterway, after you will arrive in the jungle camp around 4 PM. Over there it makes for easy walking in the jungle, very near the forest camp. You will follow the trail, search for animal footprints and other elements that point to the forest wildlife present, such as: monkeys, barking deer, gibbons, wild pigs, and jungle fowl. The guide will point out interesting things and useful plants, used as herbal medicine like cardamoms, galangals. After dinner you overnight in the rain forest camp hosted by Khmu people.
Day 5: Mountain Jungle Camp-Khmu Village. 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 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 6: 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 Village). 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, Khmu home stay, Mountain jungle camp, and 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, blacksmith, bamboo basket making “bamboo toys such as: birds, frogs, cup, etc.
- Meals-lunch x 6, dinner x 5 and breakfast x 5.
- 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.