Muang Hiem town in Houphan province was known to be dangerous for its many tigers, so people were told when passing through here “to beware”, which in the local dialect is “hiem”. Hence, the town was called Muang Hiem (“muang” means town or district). The Nam Khan River in Muang Hiam is the same river that flows by Luang Prabang UNESCO peninsula in to the Mekong River.
A small stupa, situated atop the hill amazingly survived the heavy explosions during the war, and an unexploded bomb lodged deep inside the earth (the bomb was detected by UXO clearing teams).
In the center of town, is the market. You can purchase some fruits, sticky rice, BBQ and sour vegetable PakSom for picnic lunch when exploring the surroundings of Hiam. (If you see any wildlife for sale please inform the protected area, tel. +856 020 2860 0038). Note,-The market in February 2018 is currently being relocated. NEPL NPA team will update the map soon. 🙂
Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area’s Headquarters & Visitor Center
(Open Monday-Friday from 9-5pm (lunch break 12-1.30))
The NEPL NPA is the largest protected area in the country spanning across three provinces: Houaphan, Luang Prabang, and Xiengkhouang. The NEPL NPA is a critically important habitat for 6 cat and 2 bear species, northern white-cheeked gibbons to name few. The Protected Area’s Headquarters and Visitor Center is located nearby the junction towards the hot springs. The visitor center offers introduction to the protected area’s conservation work and the wildlife ecotourism projects, and is the starting point of the School Forest Trek. Homestays can be arranged in protected area’s ecotourism villages. Contact protected area’s ecotourism team for more details.
Wildlife Conservation Tours & Homestays
Ecotourism in NEPL NPA is designed to create a direct link between conservation and tourism, so that the money that visitors pay has a positive impact on encouraging local people to protect endangered wildlife. The ecotourism projects offer an unique opportunity to enter the Totally Protected Zone of the protected area. (Read more)
Muang Hiam School Forest & Self-Guided Hike.
The Hiam School Forest, a conservation forest of 635 ha was established by the Hiam secondary school in 2010. A self-guided hiking trail is available, and is starting from the protected area’s office. Along the way see a bamboo forest transitioning into deciduous forest, the Indochina War trenches, a Tree House/View Point offering a beautiful view over Muang Hiam town, and Hok Don Waterfall. You can choose to either end the tour by visiting the giant old growth trees, or to go straight to the hot springs. Traveling 0.6 Km past the hot spring will take you to Muang Hiam Secondary School. More information and maps are available at the protected area’s office. Please pay the hot springs entrance fee if you cross it.
Hot Springs (Open everyday, 6am-11pm).
If you cross the bridge over the Nam Khan River and take right on to the dirt road, you will arrive to the hot springs located just 10 min walk from the main road (passing the protected area’s office on the left). This is one of the hottest natural springs in the country; in fact you can boil an egg in it, so be careful! In daytime relax and enjoy picnic huts. For bathing you can choose between bathtubs or showers. Please remember to wear appropriate clothing (see Cultural Guidelines). Entrance fee 10’000LAK.
Dam. Tad Louan Waterfall & Swimming
(5km. Around 20min one way or 12 km the loop).
A quiet country road will lead you to the hydroelectric dam and waterfall, nice for swimming. To start, after crossing the Nam Khan River bridge turn left before the petrol station. The route passes Ban Houay Saa village, a Hmong village that has traditional houses built at ground level (rather than on high posts). At the Y-junctions keep right and you will arrive at the top of the dam on the Nam Sat River. Pass the dam 100m, you will find a small path going down to the river. If you keep following the main road, it will become narrow after the power station and eventually lead to the Nam Khan River, possible to cross by bamboo bridge (motorbike will need to do river crossing). Continue trough the rice fields and you will arrive at the main road in Viengthong village, turn left to return to the town. The loop is 12km, and is great for a run, or by bicycle/motorbike).
Tad Salay Waterfall & Swimming
(8 Km. Around 30 min one way by motorbike).
Travel towards Nong Khiaw/Luang Prabang for 4 km and turn right before the NamSat bridge. Continue beautiful country road trough mountainous agriculture valleys upstream the river for 4 km. There is no information sign about the waterfall, but you can notice sound of the falling water, and a walking/motorbike path going down to the river. Bring some snacks to enjoy picnic by the waterfall.
Indochina War Airbase (Lima Site 36) & Village Homestay
(27 km. Around 2h one way by motorbike)
From Muang Hiam town follow the signs as you head south for 7 km to Poung Hai village where asmall Buddhist temple is located, and is the only one in the area. Turn left at Poung Hai, and follow scenic mountain dirt road for 15 km, and take a left at the Y-junction. After another 5 km you will reach Ban Nakout. The village is 100% Tai Phuan ethnic group. Evidence of the former Indochina war airbase can still be found in the area (air slip, fuel tanks, etc). The area is highly contaminated with UXO, please be careful! A simple but comfortable homestay/lodge is available in the village.
Mr. Thongphet speaks English, contact him on +856 30 4818006. (Read More)
+856 20 2860 0038
- To bathe in public, women must covers the body from chest to knees.
- Please dress appropriately when visiting villages. Men must wear shirt and women must cover their shoulders and knees.
- Please take off your shoes when entering a house.
- If you want to take pictures of people, please ask for permission first.
- Smiles beget smiles. Please, be patient and kind.
- Please do not buy any wildlife or wildlife products. Selling & Buying wildlife is illegal in Lao PDR.