Published: January 21st 2012January 20th 2012
On my first full day in Luang Namtha I pretty much did very little. In the afternoon I hired a bicycle and rode 4 km to the Lanten village of Ban Nam Di. I came across quite a few older women in traditional clothes making garments but felt a little awkward about taking their photo, so I didn't. I rode back to Luang Namtha along the same bumpy dusty road and stopped to take a couple of shots of the ricefields in the evening sunlight.
Next morning Nina and myself hired a motorbike and rode the 60 km to Muang Sing. The ride passed by quite a few small villages and Nam Ha National Park. We didn't have a lot of time to explore Muang Sing so we pretty much had a late lunch and then headed back stopping at a couple of villages along the way. That night I said farewell to Nina who was off the next day to tackle the Gibbon Experience, a multiday trek into the forest where you zipline around and sleep in treehouses.
The next day I just bummed around and in the evening I booked a 1 day trek for the following
day. The trek turned out to be a disppointment for me. I thought we would walk a while and spend a while in a couple of villages, but it turned out that we would walk a lot and rush through 1 village. I guess it was good exercise.
Friday morning I had booked a bus ride to the Thai border seeing that my visa ran out that day. The small songthaew picked us tourists up and took us to the bus station where we found our bus already full. We couldn't really get much information from the ticket office except to tell us that there maybe a bus leaving before 12 noon. We were all pretty pissed seeing that it was 8.15am and we all had bought tickets for the 9am bus. When the other bus left an empty bus pulled into the bay where we all quickly jumped in to get a seat. It wasn't long before it was full and to our amazement we were on our way by 9.30am. The road was great in Laos terms and we arrived at the border town about 1pm, only 5 minutes behind the other bus. We all jumped into
songthaews which took us down to the border on the Mekong River. We checked out of Laos, took a boat across the river, and then checked into Thailand. All very easy and relaxed. From there we took a songthaew to Chiang Khong bus station and caught a bus to Chiang Rai which took about 2 and a half hours. For once the bus station was in the centre of town and only 5 minutes from the guesthouse area. A lot of the accommodation was fully booked but I eventually found a nice big room for $8 a night.
There are more photos below