There are no air or rail links between Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha, so the only way of doing this journey is by road. The by road distance from Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha is 306 km. You could take a taxi, which is the quickest and most expensive option. You could also take a local bus service which is cheap but very very slow. Most foreign visitors, however, choose take a minivan from Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha.
Bus Times from Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha
There is currently 1 service a day from Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha available to book online.
- The journey time from Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha is 8 hours 00 minutes, including comfort stops on route.
- Passengers travel in a standard 14 seat minivan with A/C.
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Luang Prabang Bus Station
Bus services from Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha depart from Luang Prabang Tourist and International Bus Station on the opposite side of the road to the Southern Bus Terminal in Luang Prabang.
Luang Namtha Bus Stop
Minivan services from Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha terminate at the New Bus Station in Luang Namtha.
About Luang Namtha
Luang Namtha (also written as Louang Namtha and Laung Nam Tha) is a small town cluster around three roads. There is a good range of restaurants and places to stay in Luang Namtha, and two small temples to visit, but not much else to visit. The two main reason foreign visitors come here is to go trekking and for onward travel connections to China.
Travel to China
Luang Namtha is only 60 km from the border with China in Boten, which is open to foreign travellers who arrive at the border with a visa. There are plenty of local bus and minivan services from Luang Namtha to the border with China (local people cross the border frequently to bus and sell things) and the journey takes around 90 minutes.
Trekking near Luang Namtha
The main trekking area to visit from Luang Namtha is the Nam Ha National Protected Area, which covers over 2,000 square kilometres. This nature reserve has three large rivers, areas of dense primary jungle and some settlements inhabited by minority ethnic groups. Villages of the Akha people are particularly interesting as they feature wooden huts raised high off the ground by thick tree trunks.
You could trek alone but because of the difficulties navigating in dense forests and the absence of any shops, restaurants or hotels you are much better off going with a trekking company. There are a range of different types of treks you can do, some in the jungle, others around villages, and some including rafting on rivers. Some of the trekking companies are poorly run. The best known trekking company, and probably the safest, operating out of Luang Namtha is Green Discovery. There are the most expensive company offering treks but you take less risks going with an established company, particularly if get some kind of injury or fall ill.