Returning to Luang Nam Tha, I booked another trek with a cheaper company for another two days and one night. This trek was with eight other people, trekking into the Nam Ha NPA and a village home stay, just like the previous one. However I was warned it wouldn’t be as professional as Green Discovery, but I was running out of money and I had a taste of trekking in Laos and I couldn’t resist. This one cost me the equivalent of $37 USD.
We started in a rubber tree farm. Rubber trees were durable and easy to maintain and were a good return on investment once sold to the Chinese, so a lot of the NPA had been lost to rubber tree farming. This just re-enforced for me that people need to stop buying plastic sh*t, because this is what the consequences are.
We stopped and had our lunch on banana leaves much like the first day. Sticky rice, prepared meat, papaya with garlic, and roasted pumpkin.
When we arrived to the village we had plenty of free time before dinner. This was another Khmu tribe but it was a lot bigger and more developed than the first. There was a large road coming in and out of the village and a lot more houses, a few cars, a lot of motorbikes, power lines, and almost every house had a satellite dish. I’m not so sure that it was a traditional tribal village, just more of a regular Laos village that somewhere along the line was a Khmu tribe.
I played with some of the kids until I got worried they were not going to give my camera back.
Then went to the river to wash all the dust off my face and feet. We watched the sunset then all nine of us, our guide included, crammed around a small round table for dinner. Sticky rice, morning-glory, pumpkin, bamboo soup, and some kind of meat.
That night we played cards until late and the next morning started our trek into the NPA. I am still skeptical if we were actually inside the NPA because I was warned by several companies that they were known to just skirt the outside of the park so they did not have to pay the permit fee.
One feature this trek had was, that we were going to make our own lunch in the wilderness (we kind of made our own lunch but mostly watched our guide do the preparing). First he brought a few of the boys into the jungle to cut down banana trees. They brought back leaves for place mats and banana flowers for the soup.
He then set about to cutting a piece of bamboo that we would cook the soup in over the fire. In the soup we added banana flower, morning glory and leftover rice from breakfast (that we brought), a pack of ramen noodles, some eggs, seasoning and sugar. So it wasn’t exactly all from nature. And we had a mound of sticky rice to go with it.
In one of the banana trees they found a giant slug, which was cooked on the fire for desert after lunch.
It felt like something from the Lion King.
We trekked for a few more hours through deciduous forest before returning to Luang Nam Tha. We reconvened for dinner at the night market that night and got our fill of fried fatty food we had been missing for the past two days.