Ban Nalan Trail

This article is an itinerary.

Ban Nalan Trail is in Northern Laos and is a two day trekking experience.

Prepare

In compliance with provincial laws, trekking in Luang Namtha Province may only be undertaken with a certified guide. The hike can be arranged at the Tourist Office:

Trained as part of the Nam Ha Ecotourism Project, the guides are local men and women, with knowledge of and respect for the natural and cultural features of the Luang Namtha area and the Nam Ha National Protected Area. Be sure to ask them questions about the environment you are trekking through and consult them if you have any questions about village or forest protocol.

Hike

Day one: Ban Chalemsouk to Ban Nalan (5-6 hours)

The trail begins at Ban Chalemsouk, a Khmu village approximately 20 km from Luang Namtha. From here the trail ascends through a 10-20 year old secondary forest until emerging into the upland rice fields of the village. The path offers great views as it levels out along a ridge before re-entering the forest. The trees here are older and support a wide range of animal and plant life. Your guide will explain some of the natural history of the area you are hiking through.

A Lao-style picnic lunch is eaten along the way, either in the forest or in the shade of a farmer's hut. In the afternoon, the trail enters the community forest of Ban Nalan. As the trail begins to descend to the village, it passes a small clearing which served as a gun position during the early 1960's, at the time when Pathet Lao revolutionaries and Royalist forces fought in the area.

Day two: Ban Nalan to Ban Namlue (6-7 hours)

The second morning is a pleasant walk following the Nam Ha River. Here the forest varies from stands of large hardwoods to new growths of bamboo. On the way it passes through the village of Ban Nalan Tai (south Ban Nalan) and the open cultivated areas of the Lanten village of Ban Namkoy. Lunch is eaten in one of the houses of this village.

Next, the trail leaves the river and climbs for a couple of hours. This is the most challenging section of the trail, but also the most beautiful, as it passes through the least impacted forest of the trip. Trees up to four or five hundred years old create a dense canopy which provides a habitat for many birds. Pause quietly for a minute or two and you will hear the forest come alive with the sounds of birds and insects.

From the top of the ridge there are spectacular views to the north with Luang Namtha visible in the distance. The final descent takes you past the mountain rice fields and cultivated areas of the mixed Lanten and Khmu village of Ban Namlue. The trail here can be steep and slippery in places, so take your time, especially after a rainfall.

The trail ends at the Lanten village of Ban Namlue. Trekkers return to Luang Namtha by tuk-tuk towards the end of the afternoon.

Respect

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