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Luang Namtha, Laos

Written on: Thursday March 15th, 2012

A journal entry from: S.E. Asia 2012

From Luang Prabang we moved on via a scary minibus ride to Muang Khiau which, with its little twin Muang Ngoi  up the Nam Ou river has become the next backpackers' haven. It's a good place for trekking and other outdoor activities. On our first day we rented mountain bikes and did a ride up beside the river through two beautiful little hill tribe villages. Our intention was to drop off a load of Big Brother Mouse books at a primary school. We did find two schools but for some reason (they take International Women's Day seriously) they were closed and so we ended up packing our books back to the guesthouse. The following day we went with a group of 8 people on a boat loaded with kayaks  up the Nam Ou river to Muang Ngoi. The ride back on the kayaks was fun but a little strenuous so we recuperated with a Lao massage and barbeque back at our guesthouse. More scary buses and mini-buses later we ended up in the far north of Laos near the Chinese border in a place called Luang Namtha. It is also a trekking centre and we took advantage by doing a two day guided cycle trek. This area of Laos is scattered with villages of hill tribes each of whom has their own language and culture. We saw many villages: some more, some less touched by modern society. In any case it's a hard life that these people lead very near to subsistance level. Tourism injects some cash into this environment but it also causes them to lose some of those qualities that make them unique. That being said apart from the flow of trucks going back to China with many of the fruits (and vegetables and wood ect.) of the Lao people's labour it is a very beautiful part of the country.


From Roberta on Dec 21st, 2015

Hi, Bill,Thanks for the useful feeacdbk. Yes, there is a regional variation in the name for the same frond. One reference in my notes comes from the Check list of Lao Plant Names, compiled by Mike Callaghan, 2004, p4: phak kha, (Vientiane) kha vegetable, Acacia pennata (L) Wildenow subsp kerrii Nielson; I also have notes that pak la is also acacia pennata, and that pak ka is Acacia insuavis. Tonight I think I cracked it: insuavis is a subspecies of pennata: Acacia pennata subsp insuavis. Callaghan identifies another acacia: phak lae (in Thai) Acacia megdalena Desv. var. megdalena, (found in Northern Laos).Thank goodness I'm not a botanist!