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Nam Ha National Protected Area (courtesy of the IUCN Lao Programme)

General Description

Established by PM Decree 164, 29 October 1993. 
Extensions (submission No. 1092/DoF-1999) approved by Prime Minister’s Office, 25 August 1999.


Latitude: 20° 33’-21° 15’ N
Longitude: 101° 7’-101° 37’ E


Luang Namtha


Luang Namtha            
Vieng Phoukha             
Muang Sing                
Muang Long               


The eastern border begins approximately 5 kilometers south of Luang Namtha and follows the Nam Tha river watershed south towards the border with Oudomxay province. Southern border lies within the Vieng Phoukha district at the upper reaches of the Nam Taleng in the southeast and the Nam Fa watershed in the southwest.  The western border begins near the peak of the NPA’s largest mountain (2,094 m) then follows the escarpment north along the headwaters of the Nam Long and Nam Ma to the headwaters of the Nam Sing near Muang Sing.  The northern border follows the international boundary with China’s Xieng Yong Reserve.


As decreed (1993): 697 Km2
With extensions (1999): 2,224 Km2


From Luang Namtha to the southwest, there is a major road to Vieng Phoukha district and the Thailand border which passes through the corridor between Nam Ha East and West.  From Luang Namtha to the north, there is a major road to Muang Sing district which passes through the corridor between the Nam Ha West and the Nam Kong area. From Muang Sing to Muang Long there is a major new paved road which parallels the northwestern border of the NPA to the Myanmar border. From Luang Namtha to the northeast, there is a major road to Oudomxay province and the town of Boten on the China border which parallels the NPA boundary.  From these major roads, there some small roads leading to the NPA’s borders which are mostly accessed by tractors only. These include roads to Ban Nam Ngen and Ban Nam Mai on the east side of Nam Ha West and Suen Ya village on the east border of the Nam Kong area. The local government also has plans to make roads which would connect Nale district with Vieng Phouka on the south border of Nam Ha East and from Vieng Phoukha to Long district on the south west border of Nam Ha West.

Principal Local Resource Uses 
An estimated 90% of the shifting cultivation activity in the NPA is conducted by villagers living in or near the area and 10% by people from outside of the immediate area. NTFPs, primarily cardamom, rattan, bamboo, jewel orchid, eaglewood, and ginger, are harvested from the NPA.  They are used for food and sold.  It is estimated that 70% of the sale of NTFPs is conducted by residents inside the NPA and 30% by people who enter from outside of the Protected Area.  Of the NTFPs harvested for food, it is estimated that 80% is used by villages in the NPA and 20% by people from outside of the area.  A wide range of wildlife is harvested for food and sale. It is estimated that 40% of the collection of wildlife for sale from the NPA is conducted by residents and 60% by people from outside of the area.  It is thought that 70% of the collection of wildlife for food is done by residents and 30% by outsiders.  Some timber is harvested from the NPA for use by people both in and outside of the area.  Both local and provincial residents use lands inside the NPA for grazing of livestock.  Because livestock are free-ranging, there have been cases of tiger predation of domestic buffalo.

Ethnic Composition 
The Nam Ha NPA includes a variety of ethnic groups including Tai Leu, Tai Dam, Khamu, Akha, Lantaen, Lahu, Yao and Hmong.