Hi!I'll be in Laos the second week of August. I'd like to get more info about the trip from Huayxay to Luang Nam Tha . We're arriving from Chiang Rai early in the morning and we'd like to leave straight away. Are there several buses going north?I also read somewhere you can go there by boat..any suggestion?Should I skip Luang Nam Tha and go straight to Muang Sing for an excursion to the hill tribes?Thank you very much for your precious help.
You might try to get on any bus heading north out of Huay Xai and it will probably go thru Luang Namtha (or at least stop at the bus station south of town) on the way to Luang Prabang , Oudom Xai, etc. I like to take the mid sized local bus that goes to Oudom Xai and the first one leaves the bus station outside of Huay Xai at around 08:30. I think the first scheduled bus to Luang Prabang leaves around 09:00 or so and the second leaves at 13:00. Forget the boat trip, it costs 6,000 baht to charter a boat up the Nam Tha River and it's a 2 day trip (see Boat Landing website for details). I like Luang Namtha for nice cycling and it deserves a couple day stay. You can find a city map and bike routes on the maps at http://www.hobomaps.com. You can still see local hill tribe people in native dress outside of town and the town is a relaxed place to stay with all conveniences. If you decide to go directly to Muang Sing you need to go from the big bus station south of town to the minivan bus station in the center of town with minivans departing about every hour during the day. Muang Sing is a sleepy small town with nothing at all to do but sign up for a trek into the hills. I think ,ore time is better spent in Luang Namtha where they also have a waterfall to cycle or hike out to. Try cycling out on the road from Luang Namtha to Muang Sing on a nice paved road that is very quiet along a river.
#2 LaoNow has been a member since 14/5/2010. Posts: 38
Buses typically leave Huay Xai to Luang Namtha at 9am and 12:30pm and take about 4 hours (195km) with the roadway in very good shape these days. It was re-surfaced in 2006-7 and has been in a constant state of upkeep since, reducing the previous 8-9 hour trip down to half. I always photograph the schedule when in town.
March '09 http://www.flickr.com/photos/captain-bob/3747043918/sizes/l/
March '10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/captain-bob/4434599535/sizes/l/
"Bokeo" = Huay Xai, by the way, and you can see the other various times to Oudomxai, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane which pass by Luang Namtha as well (only one route).
By boat from Huay Xai to Luang Namtha is a two-day deal and must be pre-arranged (check BAP guesthouse in Huay Xai). Or if you show up at the local market in Huay Xai early morning you can join others taking a short songthaew (pickup taxi) then speedboat upriver to Xieng Kok subject to numbers and availability then another semi-bumpy road 70km inland to Muang Sing. Bus always easier/cheaper so depends how much "adventure" you have in mind.
Those are some incredibly useful photos, thanks.
I'm thinking of trying to catch the bus from Houey Xai to Luang Nam Tha when it passes through Baan Donchai (i'll be heading there after the Gibbon Experience). Is the bus from HX to LNT always full from departure, such that it probably won't be able to pick us up (group of 4)? Is it even possible to get on one of these buses at a midpoint?
#4 marxylicious has been a member since 15/7/2010. Posts: 1
I think any bus going from Huay Xai to L. Namtha will stop to pick up additional passengers. The main function of the 08:30 local bus I mentioned above is to do just that, pick up PAX anywhere on the route and drop them wherever they want. I've taken that bus 3 times now and it always left Huay Xai precisely on time and was never overly crowded. The 09:00 big bus packed with falang may be full on departure but I'd guess they'd also stop for you if you'd sit on a stool in the aisle. It's not that far anyway.
#5 LaoNow has been a member since 14/5/2010. Posts: 38