Lao Wildlife Experience5 5 (1 reviews)
Houay Xai – Bokeo – Nong Kiau – Vieng Thong - Nam Et-Phou Louey NP
– Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Cave – Kuang Si Waterfalls
Our Lao Wildlife Experience is designed for wildlife & nature lovers, of course, and also people who have a mind of adventure, a strong desire to live in primitive conditions, “man vs wild” and driving on bumpy roads. It’s a “to be continued” portion of your adventure journey if you plan to travel to the North of Thailand. From Chiang Rai, it takes about 2.5 hours drive to Huay Xai, border gate with Laos where our itinerary starts. You will experience a night on the top of a tree in the tropical forest in a “tree house”, a night at the middle of the jungle, the last homeland of Indochina tigers, in a bamboo hut and much more…
BEST TIME TO GO: NOVEMBER TO APRIL
Our guide will pick you up the Huay Xai border of Thailand and Laos and transfer to your selected hotel. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and then take the time to visit around the city. Visit old temple Chomkhao. Overnight Huay Xai.
After breakfast, car transfer hotel to the gibbon office and continue to a rural village where you will meet your local tour guide and take a 2 hour hike, dotted with approximately 10 ziplines to get to your tree house. You will have a sandwich break during your trek. In the afternoon, you arrive at your tree house and have relaxing time after that. Around 3 PM, explore the surrounding ziplines well as the biggest tree in all of Laos. In the evening, food is brought to you for dinner—the time is up to you. The rest of the night is yours to enjoy the peace and beauty. Overnight at tree house.
Early morning around 6:30-7:00am, our guide will bring you tea and coffee and then optional hiking and zip lines to visit other tree houses, then back to have breakfast. After that, leave your tree house, continue trekking for 3 hours (including 7 zip lines) through the national Park and over the Nam Nga River. In the afternoon, have a lunch break by the river and relaxing time and optional swimming. The car picks you up there (except in the rainy season, as you must walk 1 hour more before pick up) and be return to the Houay Xai office around 2-3 PM. Our car picks you up and transfers back to Huay Xai for overnight.
After breakfast, we leave Huay Xai to Nong Kiau by road. Drive through amazing scenery of green mountains and forests. You will see villages of some minority groups along the way, people coming back junk carrying on their back bamboo sprouts and even hunting results. Hunted animals are displayed on table for sale. Arrive in Nong Kiau early evening to check-in to the hotel. Overnight in Nong Kiau.
After breakfast, visit Nong Kiau – a small town nested between green mountain and green river – before continuing your journey further to the East to Vieng Thong. Check in to a mini guesthouse and overnight in Vieng Thong.
After a simple breakfast with Lao noodle, you will take 1.5 – 2 hour drive along a curvy road through gorgeous mountainous landscapes to arrive at Ban Son Koua, a Khmu Village and the Nam Nern Night Safari tour start.
At around 10-11am, join your group and embark on a 1.5-hour journey to the park substation on the Nam Nern River by long-tail boat, along the way learning about upland rice cultivation and having opportunities to spot monitor lizards (depending on the time of year) and bird life.
After arriving at the park substation, you will be shown to their accommodation, bamboo huts close to the river, and will then be offered a lunch prepared by the village cooking group. After lunch, you will receive a briefing by park staff about the on-the-ground efforts in protecting tigers and their prey.
At mid-afternoon, your group takes the boat again to continue the journey upriver. After about 50 minutes, the boats will stop, and you will hike the forest to visit a salt lick. The local guide, a skilled hunter and tracker, explains how local people track deer and other wild ungulates. The guide points out evidence of wildlife, such as tracks or scat at the salt lick.
The boats continue upriver to the dinner site, a sandy, flat bank, where the group takes a picnic around a campfire. After dinner, the guides might share with you the Khmu folktales and stories about dragons, wildlife, and ghosts. The guides educate tourists about the species of animals they might see during the spotlighting and explain the rules and expectations for spotlighting.
Depart for the night spotlighting once it’s total dark, floating down the river with engines off. The guides (1 per boat) use their headlamp to spot wildlife. If they see something, they will give a clear sign. Then you can switch on your own flashlight to have a better look at the animal. Hence, visitors will have their flashlights switched off most of the time to avoid scaring animals. The guides and boat drivers communicate via hand signals to avoid talking that might disturb the animals. Animals that might be seen include Sambar deer, otters, barking deer, various species of civets, loris, porcupine and owls. (Seeing tigers is very rare because they usually don’t come close to the river.). Overnight at the ecolodge.
Before breakfast, local guides take you on a walk around the jungle, teaching about the use of some medicinal plants and explaining the history of the site, which was once a major settlement during the Secret War. After breakfast, the boats float back through the core zone at a relaxing pace with engines off, while the guides point out wildlife along the way.
Upon arrival in the village, you are invited to try earthen jar rice wine (lao hai). Before departing, your group will be asked to fill out a wildlife monitoring form that is used to monitor wildlife abundance and indicate the amount of bonuses put the village development fund the tour costs. (There is no extra fee if you are so lucky to see a tiger.)
What to bring for Gibbon Experience & the Night Safari
We ask that you please bring just one small bag/backpack and leave large suitcases or long-‐haul backpacks in the village or your transport car. Weather can be both very hot during the daytime and very cold at night. It is recommended that you bring clothes for both extremes.
Later, meet our driver again and drive to Luang Prabang. Arrive in Luang Prabang late afternoon. Check in to your hotel to relax and overnight in Luang Prabang.
There are many highlights in Luang Prabang to see, so that is the focus today. There is a very special dawn ceremony here that you must see - monks collecting the alms. As the sun begins to rise, long lines of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings Luang Prabang residents. It is a beautiful, serene ceremony that highlights the spiritualism of the Laos people. Visit the Morning Market where you can find all ingredients for local food. Return to your hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, you board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives you a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes. Before approaching the caves, we get off the boat to visit the village of Ban Xang Hai which has for centuries made the clay jars which are used to ferment Lao wine. Nowadays the tradition continues, however the villagers now specialize in producing 2 Lao specialties, ‘Lau Lao’ whisky and ‘Lau Hai’ wine.
Return to the town by noon time for lunch at your own expense.
In the afternoon, you will visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays a precious collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. Continue our city tour with the impressive stupa of Wat Mai and the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing the classic architecture of Luang Prabang temples. Then you will climb up to the top of Phousi Mount for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. there, we explore the Street Night Bazaar, where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textile by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast, we take a drive of 30km out of Luang Prabang to visit Kuangsi Waterfall, which, though not very high, is spectacular and really beautiful with its green surroundings as the preserved National park. We stop en-route to visit a fresh produce market namely Talad Phosi, and also visit Ban Na Oune, a small village of a hill-tribe group “Hmong”, probably the best-known minority group in Laos. Just before arriving at Kuangsi waterfall, there is another village of Khmu minority group, namely Ban Tha Pane that we will visit. If you are insect lovers, also stop at a butterfly garden, enjoy beautiful butterflies and a coffee before cooling off in the blue, crystal water of Kuangsi (don’t forget to bring your swimming suit!).
Relax and enjoy swimming as much as you want at the falls before going back to your hotel. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast, you will be free in Luang Prabang to visit more ancient temples on foot, or relax at a coffee shop by the Mekong river bank, or unwind with Lao Massage before being driven to the airport for your departure flight. Goodbye to Laos.
Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room
Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver
The services of an experienced English-speaking guide throughout the tour (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination)
Where necessary, entry fees and boat fee all visits mentioned in the program
Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available
Joined activities with other tourists in Gibbon Experience and Night Safari
VAT and other taxes
International flight tickets and airport tax
Visa handling and stamp fee
Dinners, except as specified above
Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses
Camera fees (if any)
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