Let's go riding/ eating/ travelling in a Slow life style at Luang Nam Tha, The Laos PDR.
It starts from chat of a group on Facebook. At first they are talking trivia things like men talk, until they are talking about arranging the trip. Then someone rises up the question...should we go to " Laos" ?
"Laos" our group quite often visit this country. Every year we go travelling there 1-2 times. It is the country that we agree that we "like" travelling to very much. When we agree to go to "Laos", then next question have raised, where do we want to go? going to which part of Laos? which city? We only know that we want to go to Lao but we have not decide the destination yet...because many city(popular) in "Lao" we have already been there so many times!!
But...In that moment, there is a promotion of Thai Lion Air Airline to Chiang Mai in an economy price, and Yeah " Let's go to Laos!" and booking the ticket to Chiang Mai right away...then go travelling to Laos by Chinag Khong > Bor Kaew but the destination we haven't decide it yet, we will discuss again after everything is agreed like finding the matching free time, leaving working day until we agree that we have only 3 days and 2 nights free time. It seems like we have so little time for this route. Our plan in the first pace is going to Bor Kaew > Luang Nam Tha > Mueng Sing > Mueng Ngoi. We want to take a rest in the middle of nature at Mueng Ngai but if we cut off the the time spending a long journey on the car with a little time, the possible plan at this time would be travelling to "Luang Tha Nam" only.
Summary.. Program of our travelling trip is 3 days 2 nights but it is flexible program rely on the situation haha and the bus round (In Laos). Actually we have a brief plan which we plane heading to Chiang Khong after we reach Chiangrai to cross to Bor Kaew, Laos and then take a train to Luang Nam Tha, our destination.
First day - Travelling the whole day to " Luang Nam Tha" in the evening
Second day - Travelling in Luang Nam Tha ( or travelling in Mueng Sing too)
Third day - Travelling the whole day on the returning day
(It seems like a whole tired day haha, spending time on travelling only)
So this is a short review...that will lead you to "Luang Nam Tha" in a comfortable way but maybe we would not have a chance to visit all interesting place. It is a trip to find a peaceful place and relax...This trip we go out with another 2 friends including me is totally 3 people which this trip we have cerebrated the route but according to the detail of the bus round that we search on the internet, maybe the information is not updated or modified so we have to look the information " in the real time". So... I would not waste time anymore.... Let's carrying the bag and departure with us...!!!
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"Luang Nam Tha" is a city located in the northern part of Laos, next to China's border. The weather is quite cool and far away from Bang Kaew ( a border located to Chiang Khong, Thailand) around 190 kilometers but it takes around 4 hours to go there. It is R3a route which is mender along the foothill. The thoroughfare is well paved, can travel fast and more comfortable than in the past... normally people who going to Luang Nam Tha usually go there to "take a rest". They will pass Bor Tent checkpoint, then go to Xishuangbanna or go to Kunming, China. It seems like Luang Nam Tha is the passing city for leisure travelers only... you can see few travelers here, for us? we intend travelling to see this city... for the first time in" Luang Nam Tha", just like we are going there to observe the route before going back there again to go to China in the future..
Start !! We start departure from Don Mueng airport, I am done making an appointment with other people now.
Atmosphere at Don Mueng airport in the morning, a bright sky.
Departure from Don Mueng at 08.20 am. to our destination at " Chiang Rai province"
We travel on a long holiday, passengers are quite many in the airport, they are waiting in the gate and ready to departure.
It takes around 1 hour 10 minutes flying with Thai Lion Air, free seat selection. You can select your seat when check-in on website. I like to take a seat at the back end of the plane, few people there...not crowded.." our members are ready now.. !!"
It takes not so long..to reach "Mae Fah Luang airport", Chiang Rai and then we find a car to a new bus station ( Ta Khei Khu) to find a bus to Chiang Khong.
From the airport, how can we go into the city?", there is a taxi service at the airport to the city, it costs 200 Baht/ round/car or we recommend you to go out from the parking area in front of the airport, there is another taxi service which cost you more +30 Baht and the rest is calculated from the taxi meter, 10 Baht/ kilometer.." or ...if you call to a taxi service center, there will cost you more +20 Baht and the rest is calculated from taxi meter, 10 Baht/ kilometer" We choose a taxi service at the airport to send us to new bus station. Taxi meter cost is calculated by kilometer. Finally, we pay at 200 Baht, not quite different..with charter a car haha.
We are checking the bus schedule. According to the information, there is a bus service across the country from Chiang Rai and crossing to Bor Kaew ( Laos ).
It is around 11.00 pm now. We miss the bus to Bor Kaew in the morning!! Another departure bus time to "Bor Kaew" is in the afternoon and I think that we definitely can't catch the bus up from Bor Kaew to Luang Nam Tha at that time but then...I hear the sound from heaven, the ticket seller shout out to ask that..." will we take a long journey to Luang Nam Tha? there is a bus from Chiang Mai - Luang Pra Bang and they will stop here which a seat is available" we then accept the condition right away. The bus will arrive at 12.00 pm., we will take a long journey from Chiang Rai to Luang Nam Tha without transferring the bus at Bor Kaew which also very convenience too..
We are done buying the ticket, then we go out to find food to eat. It would take a long time to reach there, so we have to eat...not so long that a bus arrive here, it comes on time! The bus comes from Chiang Mai - Luang Pra Bang.
A ticket from Chiang Rai to Luang Nam Tha, it costs 500 Baht which is worth paying I think because we don't have to transfer a bus or crossing the boat to another side which would waste our time. We are going to have a long journey to Luang Nam Tha...a passport is needed to buy a ticket too.
500 บาท ไม่ได้มีแค่ตั๋วนะครับ.. ยังมี "ชุดยังชีพบนรถ" แบบ มินิๆ.. มาซะด้วยประกอบไปด้วย น้าดื่ม+ขนม+ผ้าเย็น(แต่ไม่มีความเย็น) 55+
500 Baht is not a ticket price only.. but also including "a set of snack" in a mini set.. it is given together with a ticket. The set including water+snack+refreshing towel ( but not cool) haha++
Seat number will be written on the bus, someone would fighting to have a seat on the bus if they don't get the seat. I am dozing and going to fall a sleep, it takes around 2 hours to reach "Chiang Khong checkpoint". The bus will stop for us to take our passport and have a stamp on it to go out the city.
Then we get on the bus and cross the Friendship Bridge 4 at Chiang Khong - Huai Sai (Bor Kaew). When crossing to Laos border, the bus stop for us to have a passport stamp to enter Laos. We spend a lot of time here, around hour for everyone to have a stamp on passport.
We departure from Chiang Rai since 12.00 pm and takes around 6-7 hours for travelling. During the way from Laos to Luang Nam Tha city, the route is quite devious but well paved because it just finished building so it makes this journey goes smoothly and convenient. For those who is easily to has a carsick, you would feel a little bit dizzy, it is a normal symptom but both side is a nature, you can sit and see the side view until the sun gradually set down at the back of the mountain. We almost reach " Luang Nam Tha", then a ticket collector comes to remind us to prepare our stuff and get off the bus. I think only 3 of us that will get off in the middle of the way at Luang Nam Tha and the rest passengers are going to the next destination at Luang Pra Bang.
The bus stops in the middle of one plain. At first I am so confused, my first feeling is that is it this quiet and arid here? not even has a house and light, dark ( but a lot of firefly there, very beautiful). So when I am not sure, I run to ask the bus staff again and I find out that I am not reach there yet, then why does he lets us get off here..!! hahaha. Then we get on the bus a little longer until the bus stop at the bus station "Luang Nam Tha". People who are going to Luang Pha Bang will have dinner here first and then continue the journey.
For 3 of us, we find a bus to the city and there is a small bus to send people to the city area which takes around 7 kilometers more. We wait for the bus to departure and finally only 3 of us+1 foreigner as a passenger. It costs 20000 Lak or 80 Baht ( normally it should costs 40 Baht but this round fee is divided by few people) We sit for a while then the bus send us to the middle of the city. In front of Luang Nam Tha night market looks dark, we arrive around 20.00 pm and then find a hotel to stay first. We choose the hotel that is located opposite the market name Kam Ging. The room for 3 people is 100000 Lak or 400 Baht with air-condition, television, water heater, key card for enter and exit. I think the price is okay..!! The room is wide, the air is cool, comfortable sleep and near the market which costs 130 Baht/person/night. We are going to stay here for 2 nights..
We go out and cross the street to "Luang Nam Tha night market" after we store all stuffs in the room - to find something to eat, we are starving!!
There is various of foods selling in the market. The stores are set around the a circle and a bench for having meal in the middle. What ever you want to buy from store to eat... then you will have to sit together in the middle...at this area. Tonight..a lot of people here...
The main menu that you should not miss " Papaya Salad+ fried noodle"
Grill meat ball, 2000 Lak ( 8 Baht )
Food in Laos, people know that the price is expensive no matter which city haha ( but we still can afford it hehe^^)
If you want to eat something hot, you should have " Pho", a signature dish " Pho bo", the price is 15000 Lak (60 Baht). For us selling with this price is considered as expensive haha because we get a fews beef meat.. but noodle is soft, soup is hot, very delicious..smooth but it would be better and spicy if they add lemon, fresh chili.. ( In Laos most of the restaurant provide many condiments bowl) and another signature here is " Gabi". We put so little but it is incredibly spicy..^^
Variety of fruits are selling near the market
There is a restaurant name " Kua Tai" at the intersection, the restaurant serves fast food. Inside is an air condition and Wi-Fi. People can go there to have a meal or have a chill drink.
Luang Nam Tha city map. It is a briefly map which attached to the hotel's wall, Khamking hotel. The hotel that we stay is located on the opposite side of the night market, go ahead from the intersection to the north, not far away from the night market and that Kua Tai restaurant is there. Dragon Pub is located at the intersection below. It is both a pub dance of this area, we will talk about it later. The upper area is "That Luang Namtha" This That is a signature place everyone should visit *( apart from that , there is also That Kao, museum, waterfall and morning market to visit too..)
Atmosphere in the morning of the city. Luang Nam Tha is quite peaceful and the road is empty.
We walk around to explore the city and atmosphere
Luang Nam Tha map
At "Lobby" of Khamking hotel, there is a tea, coffee and Free wifi (can't live without this thing haha) service.
Next to Khamking hotel is a store, selling alcohol and beer.
For anyone who interested to buy some gift...^^ like "Sura Borkaew" this bottle is 20000 LAK or 80 Baht
Kua Thai restaurant. For those who don't like hot weather, you should try this restaurant. There are variety of foods, including a fast food like a western food, Thai, Laos. You can choose the type of food you like and there is a free water service too, don't have to pay more or you can sit in the air-conditioned room and drink beer, Wifi too.
You can order a single dish or a set menu. The price is not different from a night market or a normal restaurant but it is much more comfortable haha.
A landmark is in front of Kua Thai restaurant...Check in.."Luang Nam Tha"
Program for today.. At first we plan to go traveling at "Mueng Sing" which is around 60 kilometers away from here. It is the city that close to the border of China but after we ask about a car.. it is quite hard to find a car to there. We have to go to a bus station that located outside the city and consumes a lot of time ( we think that the time is nit enough and we have taken a whole day of travelling so we want to take a rest more haha or if we find a rental car so chartering an expensive car so we decide to go there next time...and determine to rent a bicycle. Riding around the city of Luang Nam Tha is a better idea. I see in the map. There are many interesting places too. You can ride around the city because Luang Nam Tha city is small, the atmosphere around is good. Riding while seeing a nature, a people lifestyle give us a relaxation as well. There is a rental bicycle beside the hotel that we are staying.
Rental is calculated per day..a housewife bicycle style costs 40 Baht, with gear costs 60 Baht. I choose the second type because I notice there are many slopes that I have to go across.
We choose one for each.. riding with no special effect, no sun block and ready to go adventure!!!
Take a picture of the map on the phone to see where to go... but we go for a small ride actually. We are riding to see nature of the city..a sunlight you see in the picture actually it is not that hot, the weather is quite cold, comfortable, chill ( but I think we going to feel hot after we like in a long distance haha).
Riding for a while then we start to go out of the city.
Go out of the town, the road quite clear. The car is less and good atmosphere. We riding chilly... may be a little bit confused because we have to ride on the ride side..55+
We are riding to the south, the way to Luang Nam Tha airport. The first point...we see an old temple, it is not on the map so I take sometimes to observe it...I can't remember the temple name (I have to apologize for that ). It is a small old but beautiful, magic temple.
Gate of the temple
Old pagoda is on the side
Buddha Image under the big oak tree in the temple
A story of Buddha's biography on the wall of the chapel. The story tells about sin to remind people to be in morality.
I go worship the Buddha image inside the chapel
After that...we continue riding. The environment around is so good. If it is a winter season, the atmosphere would be a lot better ..^^
Taking picture with.."pillar" kilo
This point is away from Huaixay178 pillars ( 178 Km.)
We.. are ridding to the north.. on the way we also visit the natural, people life style until we have stopped by a 4-5 people gang of Laos children, each children is holding a long wood in his hand. I am curious so I have to stop riding. I can catch some point which is they are going to use the wood to do something... so we ask them to follow and they say okay. We plan to find something to eat until The Gang lead us to one of a big tree
We hear the sound of Cicada is crying... what they want to catch ... is cicada. It is flying on the tree. They are so many of them..
The way to catch them.. is using some kind of sticky rubber , and l place on the end of the wood then take the end of the wood to touch with cicada. It will easily pick up cicada down.
They are really good at catching cicada, just spend time for a while...then they get many of them.
They got it..then take the wing out and make a bunch...
Cicada.. that they catch..will be "eaten"..by fried, the taste is like a normal fried insect ( I guess.. because I haven't try it haha)
"It is a long bunch, isn't it?" - he got so many od them so the bunch is so long.
It is one of their lifestyle which I feel very interested to see local people lifestyle here. Before I go back, I have say goodbye to this gang of children that go with us too.. " Thank You very much" - we say before we ride away from them " by..." - the children response with a truth smile for the last word.
Next destination...we are riding to " That Luang Nam Tha"
Riding to the northern part.. to "That Luang Nam Tha" ( That Mai) ( That Gao is located at the way to the airport but.. we are lazy to ride that way so we prefer to go straight to That ai haha) The way to that place is more and more steep because That Mai is located on the high hill which you can see notable That Luang Nam Tha from the city too. The stair and a road for car is on another way.
Just take a break for a while
At this point...we decide to use shortcut way..
Carrying up a bicycle
And...then continue riding up the hill, a little more.. we are going to reach there...just very little..hae!!..
We start to see.. city view "Luang Nam Tha"
And then... we arrive "That Luang Nam Tha" It is a Buddha that of Kuang Luang Nam Tha city. Establish on 21 September 2004. You can go inside Luang Nam Tha to worship Pra Pa Than.
"That Luang Nam Tha" - very beautiful
..It is worth to go visit it..
Pha Put Tha Rub Pra Jum Wan Kerd and a big Pra Put Tha Rub Sai Yan for people to come worship.
Near to " That Luang Nam Tha", there is " Wat Sa Muk Kee Thum", we are going to go worship inside the temple too ( but..the place we are going to go seem that it is under construction so we haven't go inside)
Pavilion and viewing point on the top.
In front of That Luang Nam Tha, there are various type of tribes statue at the entrance gate which indicates the symbol of Luang Nam Tha city which show that many tribes lived together peacefully.
Various type of tribes statue standing to welcome visitors.
After finished worship around 17.00 pm.at the temple which almost in the evening time now so we decide to ride back to the city..moreover, we feel "hungry" too.. so we continue riding along the way..until we see many stores next to the bridge..then we agree that.. we should have some meal in a local food style here. This area is suite you if you want to eat a local food like a street food..we will bring you guys to taste it.. to taste how delicious the food is!!!
The store is simple set up, there is a seat in front of the store..just order the food you want to eat..
There are many stores located here..we try this store then, it is for our dinner today..!!
First menu ..we order each 1 an egg (it looks the most easiest menu haha)
Starting from " Kai Song Kueng" - it is an cooked egg.
This egg cost 2000 LAK or 8 Baht. Let's try...it is served with seasoning to dip it before we eat.. and a lot of vegetables, it taste good. This menu is not quite strange because maybe we often eat it as normal ^^
Let's try duck egg then.. this menu is called "Kai Kao" or "Kai Look" (depends on one call) it is a duck egg that going to hatch..which means a duck larvae that live in the egg.. it costs 3000 LAK or 12 Baht..more expensive than chicken egg..it should definitely be more delicious I think.. haha
After I gradually shell it out, a woman monger then let me suck the water that run out immediately.I feel like ...I haven't make myself ready to eat it haha ( This menu I have eaten it so many times so I don't afraid but...the first time I don't quite dare to eat it too..I think it is delicious..)
Let's see, grill menu..there are various type of animals here... placing in line on the table. It is sell in stick form, cost 2000 LAK or 8 Baht/ stick..
First menu, you should familiar with this stick..grilled.." chicken foot" ( Klam Buei Laos, it should be delicious hehe ^^)
Other meat grilled stick is pork, chicken, beef..etc. as normal but.. what I like the most is this stick.."Grilled buffalo"- it is grilled buffalo apply with spicy sauce before it is grilled. It tastes spicy..(we eat so many sticks, spending long time seating, chatting, so seller give us many free sticks here.. haha)
Lastly, this stick is the most expensive, 1000 LAK or 4 Baht. It looks similar to onion on the stick ( it tastes like Gui Chai!) it is called " Chinese stick).
They skewer the stick and sell to the market
You have to dip it in hot water..before you eat it and dip it in a spicy sauce. It also taste delicious too..please try !
Really delicious (you can ask him if you don't believe me haha)
We enjoy eating and sitting there for a while
Last menu .. we afraid to feel hungry so we order noodle menu more..I really don't know what is it call ( like forget already haha) it looks like our noodle, dipping in hot water and cover with sauce that well cooked and ready to be used, they give us so many of it. It cost 500 LAK only (20 Baht). Eat it with vegetable and other stuffs which is a great matching ingredient.
A night life mode. There is also a pub bar in Luang Nam Tha also. From my observation, there are also many pub bar here. We ask teenager around that area and they suggest us to go to Dragon Pub which we will bring you guys to see a night life here... summary from what I observe and inquiry from people travelling here is below
1. Most of teenager will come here on Friday night. There are so many of them and it's like "Hang out day" for them. Other days they will stay at home only and will go out only one day. A night market also full of people on Friday night ( We go to Dragon Pub for 2 nights here, the first night is on Friday, a lot of people in the pub but for the next day, we also go there again, we don't know where people are even it is on Saturday haha)
2. Way to the entrance of the pub (some pub) is dark alley and secluded like there is no pub or restaurant located there but when you to it, it is really there (There is Laos people going inside alley no.1 and the way is so dark and deep. a frog sing out loudly, and we think that we might be fooled but there is really a pub inside..)
We choose Dragon Pub 2 for tonight..just walk no far, this is the picture we took on Friday night, very lively..very fun.
It is a dusk time..and time for karaoke..sharing a microphone to every table so any can show out their singing skill or you can request for any song. Almost opens a Thai song to sing together haha.
The pub like to serve Laos Beer. the price is 15000 LAK/bottle (60 Baht) selling in the pub, it is not quite expensive. They also offer a promotion of buy 6 free 6 bottles...like you buy 6 bottles but you receive 1 carton haha
Last day ..of this trip. We wake up early in the morning and plan to " Morning Market" before we get on the bus and go back to Bor Kaew and cross to Thailand. We book the bus to Bor Kaew at 8.30 am. There is some time left for us to the morning market. The weather in the morning is very fresh and quite cold.
'Morning Market" We walk from the hotel. Our place is not far away from it.. around 1 kilometer. We go strolling, to see the atmosphere in the morning. Just walk for a while..many people here both sellers and buyers..
Sellers are preparing vegetable to sell
Raw material here is definitely fresh..they are selling so freshly things on the floor..
Carrying duck, chicken back home..
meat zone, the atmosphere is lively
There are so many things to choose
I personally like "vegetable" here, it looks green and yummy.
There are various kind of fruits with a cheap price ( we see water melon but only 12 Baht. I want to buy it but I don't have a knife haha)
The product that sell in the market come from each household.. to this market
I like.. how to carry thing back home from this place.. they are not using a plastic bag..or if they use, it is only small amount of usage..for example fresh vegetable..they will interweave and carry back home and resell it in a bundle. They buy it and carry back home right a way.. really a good way to reduce the plastic bag usage..I like it so much..^^
Buy it and carry back home..
Choose the one you like and pick it up.. don't have to fill in the bag
There is a "Morning glory" too !..
A big cabbage, it is not necessary to put in the plastic bag too.. take home..reduce green house effect hehe^^
This Thai 3 men..haven't bought anything, they don't know what to buy back too..we don't know how to cook a vegetable if we buy it haha so we just strolling around the market..
Now it is an appropriate time to go back to the hotel now. So before we go back we have bought a few pieces of Salapao back to eat at the hotel.
It is a cream stuff and inside include egg, vermicelli and vegetable. The price is 2000 LAK ( 8 Baht ), the taste is ok but not quite delicious.. or maybe I not quite hungry in the morning I think haha.
Along the way back to the hotel. Morning atmosphere is so chill and cool. Many people are going out to stroll, exercise.. I can feel the fresh air.
and then.. we walk back to the hotel to take a bath, store stuffs and go back together..this is a travelling trip at " Luang Nam Tha". It is a short trip with no plan and no expectation. It is a very fun trip, gain many experience from riding a bicycle around the city, trying new food in life and see local people lifestyle, etc.
If I have a chance I would visit this place again and I would go to Ngoi city too ( because we have no chance to reach there haha) and we would have a chance to go to China ( in the future hehe). It is a short review that lead to you to travel, share a simple information to friends who interested to go travel there.. I would end the travelling review here " Luang Nam Tha" Thank You for reading my blog.. and see you in next trip, See You Again.. Sa Bai Dee!
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