Ruth: Luang Namtha is a trekking base and most tourists here head off for one or two nights into the jungle to stay with different minority groups. About five Akha women work the town’s tourist area officially selling bracelets and purses, but they also showed us their secret stash of pot for sale.

It is a magic moment checking into a guesthouse with a sitting toilet and an excellent restaurant serving everything  from pizza to traditional minority dishes. We are spending two nights at Zuela guesthouse to rest our legs and explore the area before heading down the road tomorrow, leaving the tourists and bathroom thrones behind for a day or two. We are running into other people touring on bikes most days, and hope to meet up with a German couple for Christmas. 
We did a side trip up the Nam Tha River, but the dust from passing vehicles and the rough road made it less magic than we had hoped. Still, lots of interesting things to see along the way. 

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