The Nam Nern Night Safari is a 24-hour, boat-based tour into the core of the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area. The highlight of the trip is the nighttime wildlife-spotlighting, when long-tail boats drift down the Nam Nern River looking for wild and endangered animals before returning visitors to the ecolodge within the national park.
This innovative and adventurous journey is not only one of the few opportunities in Laos to view rare wildlife, but the trip is designed to support alternative livelihoods for local people and generate community support for conservation of tigers and other wildlife.
Nature activities during the tour include bird watching, wildlife tracking, nighttime wildlife spotting, discovery of medicinal plants and an early morning hike. Visitors to the Night Safari overnight in one of our two-person traditional Lao bungalows in the ecolodge, built and managed by the community and overlooking the Nam Nern River from the forest edge.
Connect with conservation
This tour has been designed to create a direct link between conservation and tourism so that the money that you pay has a positive impact on encouraging local people to protect endangered tigers and other wildlife.
Most of your tour fee goes directly to villagers in the communities around Nam Et-Phou Louey. A village development fund is shared equally between the 14 villages that surround the Nam Nern area. In addition to being paid for the services they provide, villagers also receive a bonus based on the numbers of wildlife seen by the tourists, who are required to fill out a wildlife monitoring form at the end of the trip.
Our standard tour is a 2-day/1-night option for a maximum of 10 people. We meet in the morning at a small ethnic Khmu village where, after a guided tour, we set off upstream in the boats. We’ll reach our ecolodge for lunch and then, after an afternoon rest in the forest, we’ll head upstream again to view a salt lick, to have a fireside dinner, and then to drift back downstream under the light of the moon and stars, with the guides searching for animals by spotlight. After overnighting in the forest lodge, we’ll enjoy a morning walk with a guided explanation of the local medicinal plants and the remains of a village, before heading back downstream to the start, 24 hours after having left.
Village cooks have been trained in hygienic cooking methods by the Houphanh Vocational Training School. All food is cooked and all drinking water is either boiled or bottled. All food uses locally available ingredients in order to support local farmers and create an authentic culinary experience.
The Nam Nern Ecolodge consists of traditional Lao style huts in the forest located near the park substation. Mosquito nets, mattresses, sheets and blankets are provided. Both Western and Lao bathrooms are shared, and a simple shower is available, although bathing in the river is also possible in the warm season. The ecolodge was constructed by the villagers using local materials and recycled wood.
Visitors are required to pay an all-inclusive price that includes the park entrance fee, the village development fund and wildlife sighting bonus fee, boats, food and water, guides, and accommodation. Prices do not include transportation costs to the village where the tour starts. (You may take the local bus or hire your own transport. We recommend traveling independently by motor cycle or car, or joining a tour of the Northern Heritage Route.) Although, prices include basic wages for village staff, it is encouraged to tip if you are happy with the service. Tips are split equally among village staff. This is a not-for-profit venture.
The 2-day/1-night Nam Nern Night Safari package rates*:
1 person – 1,800,000 Kip
2 persons – 1,300,000 Kip
3 persons & more (max.10) – 1,200,000 Kip per person
*For all Bookings starting from 5th October 2016
To book the tour please go to Booking
Prices must be paid with cash only in Lao Kip. We do not take foreign currency or credit cards. Please bring cash with you, as there is no ATM machine, and we use your money to pay the local guides and community members for their services immediately after your tour ends.
For up-to-date exchange rates go to Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao.
To get to the start of the Nam Nern Night Safari, you can meet your guide in Muang Hiam and join them in taking public transport to the start, or you can travel to Ban Son Koua independently. If you will be traveling from either Sam Neua or Phonesavanh (Plain of Jars), they will meet you at Son Koua village, where the tour starts.
To get to the start of the Nam Nern Night Safari, you can meet your guide here and join them in taking public transport to the start, or you can travel to Ban Son Koua independently.