Trekking in Luang Namtha

We left Chiang Mai, Thailand for Luang Namtha, Laos, a small town near the China/Myanmar border that has recently become known for it’s trekking.  We took a day long trek through the mountainous Luang Namtha NPA. The trek was, to put it lightly, impossible.

Rated level 8 of 10, we hiked the steepest, most ridiculous trail I have ever seen, let alone climbed, and topped off the journey with 2 hours of kayaking.

The adventure began crossing a river in a bamboo raft capable of transporting only 1.5 of us at a time. After three rafting trips across the river for David, me, our guide, and two child-guides in training we began the impossible trek.  It was 3 long hours of a stair master followed by 2 long hours of descent. By the end, David and I were using not one, but two, walking sticks each. To add insult to the injuries the mountain provided, our trusty guide did the trek in flip flops.

After the trek up and down the mountain (at which point my legs were in gelatinous form), we had to cross three large rivers on foot (no raft) to get to our kayaks. The rivers were decently turbulent, enough so that I lost a flip flop to them and nearly my balance.

Kayaking was a welcomed reprieve from the hiking, that’s for sure. Rated 3/10, there were some rapids, but mostly gentle water. And thank God for that because David and I were positively terrible at it. It was the first time we had ever double-kayaked together and boy did it show. We fishtailed down that entire river. Halfway down, we traded off the job of steering (being in the back of the kayak) hoping one of us might get the hang of it. Nope.

That all said, it was a cool experience, the coolest part, of course, being the ride home where we could laugh about how utterly ridiculous the trek was. No, but seriously, we saw some cool things. I got to see a strangler fig. I’d only ever seen those on TV! And we got to eat fresh rattan roots that our guide chopped off a tree. And, well, the actual coolest part was that we did it! We hiked a level 8 trail and didn’t get hurt. We hiked cliffs! We hiked a stair-master for 5 hours! For us, this is very impressive.

Click here for more pics of Luang Namtha and our trek!

Something this trip is showing me is that I am still a bit soft.  Although in my minds eye I am a strong, capable warrior who can do anything, in reality, I am soft and squishy. I enjoy hot showers and soft beds. I like leisurely hikes on gently sloping trails where I can enjoy the view of nature over the burn in my quads. I hope after this trip or somewhere along the way I become the warrior. But for now I am still a bit of the princess… and that’s okay.


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