Eat and meet
Luang Nam ThaGiven the good range of accommodation, it's not surprising there is a good range of places to eat in Luang Nam Tha. While many guesthouses will offer some kind of breakfast offering, there are a couple of good cheap and cheerful pho/noodle joints on the main road just south of Manychan. Of the two, the southernmost one we found to be better, but they're both good.
Directly opposite the bulk of the backpacker accommodation is the Luang Nam Tha night market. Open in the evening only it has a good range of local specialities and the prices are very reasonable. Check out the pork belly on sale by the kilo.
Manychan does very well off the traveller trade throughout the day and into the evening, offering a comprehensive traveller menu. Their Lao food is okay but their hamburgers disappointing.
Head further down the same side of the road and you'll reach the Minority Restaurant which specialises in, you guessed it, minority food. We tried one of their versions of bamboo soup -- it was so authentic we found worms in the bamboo. Service was particularly friendly and helpful and we wouldn't hold the worms against them.
Next to Dokchampa Hotel is the brilliant Forest Retreat Cafe. This place is the number one place in town for a relaxed vibe, cheap beer and top quality Western food. The New Zealand owners source all of their produce locally when possible, but things like real cheese and bacon are imported from Thailand and hit the spot perfectly when you’re sick of noodle soups. Try the amazing pasta, woodfired pizzas and wait for it – real espresso coffee. This place also offers the best obligation-free tourist advice in town.
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