Saturday, August 9, 2008

On the river

A traditional Lanten village home in Ban Soptud
The afternoon of our second day in Luang Namtha, in northwest Laos, was spent on the river enjoying a couple of hours of kayaking and meeting some of the ethnic villagers en route. Tim had some experience but it was my first time, so we decided on a two-man inflatable kayak, whilst our guide, Yai, kept a close eye on us in his canoe. Yai is a qualified guide with the adventure tour company Green Discovery and a local. He's 27 years old and a Tai Dam, so is well suited to look after us on the water as well as guiding us around the nearby villages. We had a great time. The rapids were mostly straightforward though a couple of them made my heart beat a bit faster but Tim did well as our navigator, whilst I got wet at the front! Yai was full of advice and half-way through we had got the hang of it and it was plain-sailing for the rest of the journey along the Namtha River, flanked on both sides by wall-to-wall forest. Gorgeous views, it was an energetic but enjoyable afternoon. We began at the Lanten village of Ban Soptud and finished a few kilometres down the river at Ban Sopsim, a Khmu village. We didn't have time to do any trekking on our visit to Luang Namtha, but the cycling and kayaking we did manage was very enjoyable. Thoroughly recommended.
Weaving is one of the ways in which the Lanten villagers can make a living
Yours truly looking a bit dishevelled
Tim's getting ready for his kayaking adventure, wearing the necessary safety equipment
Back on dry land: LtoR: Me, Yai and Tim outside the Green Discovery office
Two youngsters from the Khmu village of Ban Sopsim
A view of the beautiful Namtha River near Luang Namtha


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