This has been, in the last month traveling southeast Asia, my favorite experience. It's difficult to describe how special it has been, how we felt in love with our guides, how authentic and wild the experience was, but I'll try.
At first, we feeled quite overwhelmed but all the travel agencies that offer very similar treks and kayaking in Luang Namhta. We read a lot of opinions here in Tripadvisor, but there wasn't any one that was by far the best. So we spent two hours talking with 6 agencies (the better ranked here and another one). We felt charmed by the last one, Vanxai, the owner of Discovering Laos.
Vanxai gave us a lot of explanations about his philosophy, the possible treks and, after hearing all our expectations, he found for us two guides for beginning a 3 day, 2 night treks the very next day. This is a local agency owned by local people, who know perfectly what they do, and that don't fall in unethical practices. If you want to really contribute to ecotourism, this is the perfect choice.
So first day was tough. My advice is that you bring only the really necessary staff and carry the minimum possible weigh. But don't forget to have good clothes for cold, as in this time of the year nights are really, really cold. The Nam Ha National Park is very beautiful, but the best thing about our trip is that we were alone with our guides during the 3 days. We've only met other hikers today, in the last 20 minutes!!! The route is moderate-difficult, you have to be aware of this. But wonderful :-)
We spent the first time in a village, sleeping with a local khamu family. We saw thousands of stars and we enjoyed hearing hundreds of frogs in the river. The second night our guides built a shelter and we slept in the jungle. Priceless...
And now it's time to mention Varth and Siyong, our guides. The hero's of our history. Without them, this experience would have been great, but not UNFORGETTABLE. They make a so good team! Varth speaks a great great English, and his explanations were very useful and interesting. Siyong is the master of the jungle, he knows to do DOZENS of things we bamboo or whatever thing he finds on nature: belts, spoons, traps, dishes, shelters, food, medicines, water...and always with a smile and big sense of humour. They're are always laughing!!!
Final thing to point out, THE FOOD. You've never imagined you could eat so good things in the jungle, believe me. First day they bought food in the Luang Namhta market, and then they prepared everything with very basic tools. They only need a machete to set up a fire and prepare you a delicious meal.
I'm sorry for writing too much, but I want to do everything possible to bring to these people the maximum travellers possible. Both them and you will be grateful to me ;-)
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