Though modest in size Luang Namtha offers a wide range of activities. Some, for instance activities in the Namtha National protected Area, you are obligated to do organized. There are other activities you can do by yourself. Besides trekking, Luang Namtha is a fantastic area to discover by bicycle. Renting a bicycle is easy to do and it gives you a wide range of area to discover.
Cycling outside of town in the wet season can be limited as seasonal bridges are out. Also Streams can be too deep to cross easy. After renting the bicycle the course was set to the east of the town. At the east part of the town a turn to the right was made off the asphalt road, towards a dusty dirt road.. After a short while the dirt road crosses the Nam Tha River.
The river can be easily crossed when cycling over the foot and bicycle narrow bridge. The dirt road leads to the highway no 3A when turning left, can follow the highway for about a kilometer. After that the turn right was made to a dirt road, Start of the Luang Namtha Valley Route. This dirt road with its curves follows the Nam Dee river. After following the road for about 3 kilometers a nice place to visit is Lanten Paper making.
This is a seasonal thing, only operate from December till about March. Soon after passing the paper making the road passes Nam Dee village and there you can visit the Nam Dee waterfall. Also a great area for trekking. The dirt road can sometimes be a bit tricky when the rocky parts are included. In general it is OK to follow. After passing the the Nam Dee waterfall the turn back towards the brick factory was made. The brick factory is located at the rice fields between 2 stream crossings. Also this path is only accessible at some moments of the season.
When the dirt path is accessible it follows the Nam Dee river stream. Then at the end it connects again with the highway no 3A. Turning left there and cycle the highway for about 3.5 kilometers. Then turning right there at the fuel station to the dirt road, another beautiful part of the Luang Namtha Valley Route can be followed.
At this part of the dirth path you can cycle with some moments in the shadow. One of the beautiful parts on this road is the foot and bicycle bridge over the Nam Toung river. Other vehicles must cross here through the river as most foot and bicycle bridges here they are made of wood. In the February months the river is not too deep and also much of the little wild life can be seen here..
Shortly after crossing the bridge Nam Toung river the dirt roads brings you to a crossing where you can can go right or left. The turn right here was made and continued on a dirt road that leads back to the Nam Tha river. Near at the Nam Tha river the dirt road can be followed to the right or to the left. To the right it leads you south of Luang Namtha airport terminal and then connect to the Highway 3A.
When following the path to the left it brings along the Nam Tha river down stream flow to the Highway no 3. The turn left was made on to the rocky dirt road, following the river down stream. It takes you more far from the airport, however the area has it charms and at the end of this rocky dirt road you can continue to 3 directions. At this crossing there is the highway no 3 bridge across the Nam Tha river.
A turn Right was made to highway No3, towards the small village. Small however a great place to buy some refreshments at the Chinese Fresh Market. After that continuing the cycling tour on the Highway 3. only for a short while, because after a kilometer, at the crossing the turn to Highway no.3A was made. Following this highway for a bit less then 2 kilometers there is a bridge crossing the Nam Hay river. Almost immediately after crossing this bridge another fantastic dirt road can be followed.
This dirt road makes its way through the rice farm area. Curvy and slight sloops it gently follows and crosses the Nam Ngaen river. After that you arrive at the small and charming Bam Nam Ngaen village. Lovely to see with its small houses build at the river side. After exiting the Bam Nam Ngaen village there is the Poum Pouk Stupa at the crossing. When enjoy a walk after the cycling the 175 steps upwards to the Poum Pouk Stupa can be a great challenge for you.
Continuing the road after the Stupa visit you will arrive back in Luang Namtha at the west gate of the town. In this part of the Luang Namtha Valley Route a total of 54 Kilometers was made, with some breaks when visiting some interesting places.. time for a dinner and preparing for the Motorcycle tour on the next day …