Nam Ha NPA
About
Established in 1993, the mountainous Nam Ha NPA stretches from the Chinese border through the middle of Namtha province, covering over 240,000 hectares and about 24% of the province. In 2003 the Nam Ha National Protected Area (NPA) was designated as an ASEAN Heritage Site. Nam Ha is contiguous with the 44,000 hectare Shiang Yong Protected Area in Yunnan, China. It is populated with ethnic minority
Duration: More than 3 hours
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles17 reviews
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Shell1973
Matlock, UK23 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Couples
We were travelling through SE Asia but specifically left the hill tribe trekking experience to Luang Namtha as it seemed as though it would be more untouched. This is not the case as far as we can tell. Many companies are no longer going to the north western routes because of apparent deforestation which means most are going on similar southern route paths. These paths don't include a lot of intense trekking and the villages are not 'up in the hills', are somewhat modernised, and are accessible by dirt roads.

Having set that expectation, it is still a great experience to trek through the park and visit the villages. We did a 2 day 1 night tour with Green Discovery, staying in a Khmu village on the Nam Ha river. The tour had a great mix of forest, river, rural and village walking at a nice moderate pace. We stayed in a lovely village bamboo 'lodge' where we interacted with the village while giving them their privacy. Our guide, Kit, was brilliant and the food was delicious. We perhaps could have done a bit more hiking on the first day but otherwise it was a really enjoyable experience.

We spent a long time looking at various options in Luang Namtha before deciding on this one; often it's dependent on numbers so if you can be flexible by a few days it helps. We were going to go kayaking with Forest Laos Retreat but couldn't get the numbers. They were very helpful and we heard they are very good and also spoke to others who said The Hiker was also good. I think with Green Discovery these three, despite the slightly higher prices, seem to be the best.
Written 31 March 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lifeinthetopbunk
Portsmouth, UK441 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2016 • Solo
The company I went trekking with doesn't have a page on Trip Advisor, so I figured this would be a good place to write about the trek since you need a guide to enter Nam Ha NPA. Of the several trekking services lining the main street of Luang Namtha, there are only a few that aren't part of one umbrella organization; the rest are all part and parcel of one company. I desperately wanted to go with Green Discovery, but I couldn't swing the more than $200 to do a solo trek with them, so I signed up with a small group at a place called Laos Adventure Trekking. The next morning when I arrived, however, the rest of my group members had changed their minds and cancelled, so the guy told me I'd be trekking with another group. More specifically, he watched me pay the rate for a group of four KNOWING that I'd be trekking with a group of ten and let me pay the higher rate. Luckily, when I went back after the trek and asked for the extra money I'd given to him back, he gladly obliged (but then asked me to write a review of kayaking to put on his wall when I hadn't even gone kayaking with his guides).

The company that runs the trek that I ended up doing is called Elephant Trail; the group is what made the trek brilliant! Everyone was positive and made jokes when things got a bit frustrating. We all worked well together and our personalities clicked, making the trek really brilliant. All in all, it wasn't my kind of trekking - in the first day, I think we actually hiked a total of one and a half hours out of five. We'd walk for fifteen minutes then rest for fifteen. We barely made it into the forest; the whole time, we couldn't have been more than an hour walk away from a street. That being said, we had an AMAZING time the first two days because our guide, Twoey, was so awesome! He showed us the different uses of various plants, patiently answered all of our questions, taught us how to build a shelter from bamboo and banana leaves, and cooked for us only using things he found in the jungle! It was obvious he really cared for us and wanted us to have a positive experience. And then everything fell apart when, on the second night, we got a new guide. Our new guide, Wood, was demanding, impatient, and unprofessional. He would sprint ahead of us - so far that at one point I lost the trail and sight of him, and when I called his name, he was so far ahead that he *couldn't hear me.* He ordered us around instead of asking us to help. He sent me out alone to the village in the morning to return blankets and pick up sticky rice from the local store; luckily, there was another guide there... otherwise, I'd have no way to communicate with the lady from the store! He was also completely unprepared - though he got called at the last minute to come and take over the trek, he brought nothing with him. Like, no lighter, no toilet paper, no flashlight! He had to borrow stuff from all of us.

On day three, we went kayaking; half of our paddles were broken and there was a raft that was partially deflated, but we had a great time anyway... again, because of the positive nature of the group. If you want to really delve into the jungle, you have to go with one of the more expensive places - the reason they're more expensive is that they pay for permits for trekking through old growth forest. The cheaper places don't. Still - well worth doing, especially if you're with good people.
Written 26 February 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fabulous Anna
Paris, France61 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Couples
The Nam Ha NPA is wild! One of the last spots in SEAsia where to have real fun and observe primary forest.

Just... Be Careful!

Most of the companies will lie to you and tell you that they will bring you here... it is not true!

You will see rubber trees all along the way.

Make sure that you book with the good companies: Avoid those with bad reviews / bad previous experiences.

Cheap price means that they save money: Save money in security, in local guides, in food, in keeping the trials operative (=paying the local villagers to clean them!).

Make the right choice: Do not support scammers. Few dollars make a big difference in Laos.
Written 11 August 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MMMIan
Canberra, Australia20 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Couples
We paid for a 3 day trek with Nam Ha e-tour who, with hindsight, sound very like Namtha eco tourism else where in this forum. We were supposed to do 5 to 6 hours walking per day. Ist day 4hrs (including lunch). The day finished with a cursory walk through the Arkhar? village and then we went to a filthy shed on the outskirts of the village where the guide spent the afternoon playing soccer with the village children. 2nd day - late breakfast, guide went back to bed, we hustled him out of bed and finally set off at 10:30. Walked for 1 1/4 hrs to waterfall, looked at waterfall, told to rest at waterfall, had lunch at the waterfall and then told we didn't have time to do the original walk and would have to take a short cut. Totally pissed off. 1 hrs walk down the creek to their jungle camp. Much nicer than the village shed except sleeping directly on the floor (I recommend you take your own sleeping mat).
Day 3 Left at 10:30 and had a 3 hr walk back to the road (including lunch).
I have attached a photo of our guide Aktar? Avoid him at all costs.
Written 24 November 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hanni S
51 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2016 • Friends
The NPA is a really big, lush and beautiful forest and jungle just next to Luang Namtha. You can drive through it by yourself on one paved road or you book a trek with one of the trekking agencies. I did a two day trek with The Hiker and loved the experience. The area is big so when you're in a different parts the nature is a bit different.
There's many villages all over the area in which you can go and even stay overnight with a guided trek. I did the camping next to the Nam Ha river that goes through the NPA. The river is so clean and nice to swim in!
And camping was so much fun with a campfire and dinner and breakfast cooked in bamboo on the fire.
Something that can for example be nice while you're staying over in the jungle but not so nice while exploring is that it's difficult to see any wildlife. The people from the villages used to hunt tons and still do sometimes (now illegally). The ecotourism in Luang Namtha hires hunters as tour guides to reduce the hunting and give them an alternative way to earn their money. There's also many people (Lao and foreigner) that work against the hunting and for the preservation of the jungle and the animals.
If you do a trek you should try to find an agency that supports the villages and preserves the nature! I had a very good feeling with the trekking agency I did my hike with.
Written 2 April 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Linthone
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2017 • Friends
Nice trip with colorfully with nature and unique minority villages. I did with my friends we did have best time and enjoy with bumping rapids, best lunch fresh food we tried an edible fresh vegetables called Pam Khai eat with Jeo Nan Phak
Written 30 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ilona Roeters
Eindhoven, The Netherlands276 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Couples
This is a large park close to Luang namtha. You can visit it with one of the travel agencies. The wildlife is scarce but trekking through the jungle is amazing. There are several great trekking companies in Luang namtha, with who you can arrange a trek. We went for 3days 2 nights with The Hiker and had a wonderfull experience.
Written 5 November 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ArthurB3556
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016 • Solo
I traveled 2 months in Laos, especially in the north of the country, in order to discover a beautiful nature, to walk in the jungle and enjoy the scenery. So i've been to Luang Namtha, where a lot of companies propose to do trekking in the protected area.

In fact, they bring tourists in the area near the road between Luang Namtha and Vieng Phoukha, or Muang Sing, to browse the 2 parts of the protected area that cross the road. We can see easily a good forest, thick and luxurious. But as people live, they still use local farming practices to grow vegetables or rice. We can see some of the fields, even during the trek, but to me, it is a part of the local identity, and it is a way to discover local populations and to learn about them (and to understand their positions, the stakes, why do they do that etc.).

So, i think you can find both with the namha ecotourism project in the vicinity of Luang Namtha : a beautiful nature, preserved from the deforestation, in specific areas, and the cultural aspect of the local life. It is a way to link nature and culture, and to get involved in a larger touristis logic (with help programs for the villagers, incomes from the trekking activity...), than mass tourism could offer.

Of course, we can discuss about the project, everything is not perfect, but i highly support the dynamic, and i hope the better for this area in the future! for the villagers in the jungle, people in Luang Namtha, and the tourists, every body need to work together in order to preserve the forest, biodiversity, and local economy too.
Written 2 June 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Yankee308
Lower Bavaria, Germany25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
Amazing how the vegetation quickly changes with the slightest elevation change. Beautiful lush dense lower areas, but thins out quite a bit at the summits of the small mountains. There were many signs of animal activity, but because of hunting for profit and perhaps land development, many species have become very wary of humans and make tracks for cover upon smelling or hearing us. Also, I was saddened to see a cigarette pack or plastic bottle in the middle of absolutely nowhere. My hypothesis is this. After eating, the banana leaves are bunched and simply discarded to decay naturally. The minorities treat plastic the same way, not realizing it does not decompose. Better education? Lastly, when trekking, I asked my local guide about digging a hole for bowel movements, he just looked at me and said, no, just leave it where it falls. I dug a hole.
Written 21 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mcneely2015
Hua Hin, Thailand245 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Business
Nam Ha is an incredibly important site, the source of 5 rivers, including 3 major tributaries of the Mekong. It has about 20 villages and many tourism agencies can arrange visits. But wildlife is scarce, with only the occasional bird call to show that some still survive. The staff are very scarce, with perhaps only one full-time staff member. The site is not yet well managed, but has good possibilities with some investment in improving its resource protection. Still, worth a visit if only to see the forests and villages of various ethnic groups.
Written 17 July 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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