Brilliant strange beauty of Na Luong

16/06/2014

 

The road from Tam Duong town to Na Luong is about 10 kilometers. It took a while to struggle with the muddy road, as we seem to be overwhelmed by the natural surroundings. Passing the difficult-to-go road to Na Luong, we were rewarded with the natural beauty here. We marveled at the steep road along the tea hills, the regenerated forests, and the transparent silky-like Nam Mu stream twinkling in the sun. Looking down from above, Na Luong appeared with the warm smoke from numerous stilt houses covered in big ancient trees.

 

We stopped by the stream and carefully went over the suspension bridge to the village.  Strangely, the old bridge with some loosing pieces could not prevent me from crossing the bridge and I did not know what motivated me to overcome all my own fears to get to the other side. All team members were excited and eager, joking with each other and shooting pictures. On the tiny field road, we went in a long line and gradually saw the kids with curious eyes grazing at us. Being the experienced tourists, we found it easy to make friends with the children. I went to a nearby house to chat with an old lady with a set of shiny healthy-looking black teeth. I found it incredible that she is almost 90 already, but her health is still robust, and she is still helping with the whole family’s housework, as well as preparing meals for her children and grandchildren.

 

Speaking with the locals, we came to know that Na Luong includes 90 households with 453 people, with 100% Laos people.  Most of them made their living by farming rice and fishing in the Nam Mu stream. Many still suffer from poverty, the village has 26 poor households, having food shortages roughly 4 months a year. However, everyone is friendly when talking to us.  Some of the team members were extremely eager moving from house to house and got lucky, getting invited to have dinner with a family having a celebration.  The mouth-watering food contained five-color sticky rice, “running” (free-range) chicken and roasted fish. We had dinner happily with the friendly host family and collected much information about unique Lao culture such as the strange and beautiful costumes, the well-cared shiny black teeth for matured girls, the Bun Voc Nam - Water Festival - or the folk songs and traditional dances of Laos. Copious notes were taken and the cozy atmosphere with brilliant smiles became unforgettable moments in our life.

 

When the curiosity was satisfied and the sunset was over the stream, we said goodbye to local people. They shake the hands tightly and asked us to visit them whenever possible and make us promise to drink with them when we meet again. We continued on our way, and excitedly run into some locals bathing in the stream after a hard-working day. These Laos in Na Luong were enjoying the watery massage of the Nam Mu stream, soaked in the purifying blue water, oblivious to our presence. There are also kids playing joyful games in the stream, who enthusiastically cheered for our pictures.

 

Returning to Lai Chau town in the late evening, we were exhausted but very happy. We spent a few moments recalling the adventure. I may be the happiest person in the trip because after this survey, Na Luong was chosen to become the community tourism destination by the SNV Netherlands Development Organization.

 

Kỳ Duyên

Translator: Thu Phương