Trek through the North of Laos. Sounds adventurous, right? And that is it! Because who can say that on vacation you spent days walking through the untouched jungle looking for remote mountain tribes like the Hmong, Dzao or Akha? In Laos you’ll find it all!
The road to North Laos.
Our trip started in the northern provincial capital Luang Prabang. This place is the ideal destination to enjoy delicious hotels, chocolate pancakes with Nutella and nice extras like Wi-Fi. You will not find that anymore in the coming days. Early in the morning, with a transfer, we take a minibus from the bus station to Luang Nam Tha.
They are long journeys on dusty roads and at nightfall we arrive completely in the dust in Luang Nam Tha. It feels very relaxed (just like the rest of Laos) and villages, while Luang Nam Tha is certainly not super small. We look for a small thatched cottage and sleep under the banana trees and a clear sky full of stars. The next morning we go looking for a guide.
The beauty of trekkings in this region is that it all happens in a fair way. All guides of the village are registered with the agency that organizes the trekkings. Each guide is then deployed on tour. So no hawkers or other stuff here. We choose a three-day draw and agree to be ready at seven the next day. The next morning we get acquainted with our (very nice, shows afterwards) guides.
The one small and stocky and excellent English speaking. The other long, thin and walking on slippers. Maybe that walking is not that bad, let me slip away. We take a van and drive away from the village. Then suddenly our guide gives a shriek and the van stops at a small village. We get out and start walking. Little children come rushing and people are waving to us.
There is a smoky air in the village that consists of some thatch and bamboo houses. I can still see the ashes with little piglets around them enjoying the hot coals. In the doorway of a house an old woman in traditional costume is smoking a big cigar. This is starting to look more like it, I grin.
The real deal.
The further we walk the narrower the paths become and the first rivers appear where we have to go over and through. After a break and a total of about six hours of walking, we arrive at our first village. This looks too crazy, just as I had imagined it! Small houses in a clearing on the top of a ridge, in the middle of the jungle. Crazy. And in the meantime we only met a handful of people. The sun begins to set and we enjoy this place. We sleep on wicker mats in a house on poles, the cows and goats walk underneath us. We had a great evening and enjoyed this authentic scene.
The second day we walk about eight hours through the jungle to the next village. Our guides have gathered food in the village and in the forest, bamboo shoots, glutinous rice and some other undefined stuff: -? . We eat this as lunch. At the end of the day we arrive at the next village after about 8 hours of walking. This is slightly larger and the people are less authentic, but still crazy.
We sleep with people at home, eat (and drink, rice wine) with them. And until the darkness, I play a game of football with the boys from the village. The ball is woven from wicker stems. You do not need more anyway ?! We take another bath in the river, catch our meal together and quickly fall asleep. The next morning we have breakfast and walk to the main road in about 6 hours, from where we take a van back to Luang took Tha. I know there; this trek is definitely one of the highlights of our journey through this amazing country.