Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area

Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce is organizing the Vientiane Expo 2015 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on 2 December. The event is hosted in the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Center.

Until 7th December 2015, find information about Nam Nern Night Safari in Vientiane Expo at the European Union stand.

We would like to express our greetings to European Union for supporting the ecotourism development and conservation in the Nam Et Phou Louey protected area.

Find out more on




Talk Travel Asia is a travel blog sharing travel advises and the work of many regional contacts with travel enthusiasts. The blog is managed by Trevor Ranges and Scott Coates – both passionate about travel and with love for Asia. The blog posts are presented in form of episodes – conversations between Trevor, Scott and a regional guest.

In the episode 34, Talk Travel Asia guest is Paul Eshoo – the ecotourism coordinator of the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area.

Listen to the episode and learn about Laos and Paul’s experience in ecotourism development in Asia. He has been developing community-based ecotourism with various agencies including UNESCO, WWF, WCS, the EU GTZ, the Asian Development Bank and SNV.

Paul will answer questions as below:

Q: Where are you originally from and why did you decide to join the Peace Corps and start a life in Asia?

Q: What led you to originally become interested in wildlife and ecotourism?

Q: Why did you decide to move to Laos?

Q: Give us a bit of an overview of the ecotourism scene in Laos.

Q: You’re currently involved at the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area in Houaphan Province, which is, as I understand, one of the premier tiger eco-systems in Indochina. Tell us a bit about your work there.

Q: The Nam Nern Night Safari eco-tour there has won the prestigious ‘World Responsible Tourism Award’ at the World Travel Mart in London, England, in 2013 and 2014. How important is it to win such awards to raise awareness and move things forward?

Q: What can tourists expect from a visit?

Q: You’ve also been involved at the Standing Stones in the Xe Pian National Protected Area. This is near Wat Phou correct? Tell us about that area.

Q: Don Daeng is a nearby area to Wat Phou – tell us what’s going on there for travelers?

Q: Anything else people should know about ecotourism in Laos?

Listen to the discussion:

Find more episodes on the Talk Travel Asia website!

Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area is pleased to introduce new ecotourism attractions “The Nests” and “The Cloud Forest Climb”. These projects are being developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Wildlife Conservation Society supported by AFD & GEF.

“The Nests” is a 2 and 3 day family friendly hiking tour with overnight in cosy spherical baskets hanging from the trees. The trip is perfect to enjoy wildlife viewing from the observation tower (currently under construction) at the nearby Poung Nied salt lick, which attracts animals such as the rare Sambar deer from far and wide. The infrastructures have been designed by the Building Trust International.

“The Cloud Forest Climb” is a more adventurous trekking (Option 4 days or 5 days including ‘The Nests’) up to the summit of Phou Louey (Forever Mountain) to one of the few cloud forests in the region. The hike will go through the evergreen forest and offer a rare opportunity to track wild species such as white-cheeked gibbon, leopards, bears and wild dog using camera traps, which will be set up along the trail and maintained by tourists. Click here to see few photos from the trail survey trip.

To see the itineraries and rates click on – TREKKING

SOFT OPENING from 1st of April 2016, contact for more details

In both of these tours clients will have the opportunity to help to check the camera traps and will receive electronic copies of the wildlife camera trap’s photos from their trip as the ones below. Follow the link, to see more camera trap photos captured previosly by WCS Laos.

These new tours will be located in different part of the National Protected Area than the existing Nam Nern Night Safari and will be only 40 minutes drive away from Muang Hiem (Vienghthong) in direction to Nong Khiaw.

These new tours will be operated in collaboration with surrounding villages and will directly benefit 12 villages through a village development fund. The amount of money received by the villages depends on the number of photos of rare wildlife taken by camera traps along the trail.

The project is designed to create a direct link between conservation and tourism so that the money that guests pay has a positive impact on encouraging local people to protect endangered wildlife.

To see the itineraries and rates click on – TREKKING

Laos Cub Rescue Take 2

Our two latest arrivals in Laos - sisters Nam Et and Louey - are both growing well under the care of our dedicated team. Check out this great video of their rescue and please share so that more people can know about the threats facing bears across Asia! And please please please consider supporting our work to provide a safe home for orphaned bear cubs by visiting our website and donating or purchasing from our great merchandise range http://www.freethebears.orgMusic by Chris Lewis - Possibly /

Posted by Free the Bears Fund on Friday, October 16, 2015

Two rare Moon bear cubs were rescued last week in Houaphan province after being seized from a villager who was raising them as pets. Moon bears, also known as Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) are a globally threatened species that are often poached to be sold into a life of torture in a bear bile farm or slaughtered for their body parts to be used in Traditional Medicine. The cubs, thought to be around 4-5 months old, were badly malnourished at the time of their rescue and would have been unlikely to survive much longer if action had not been taken.

The cubs were found being raised in a private house. After receiving information from a local villager police and military authorities acted swiftly to rescue the cubs – seizing them and sending the owner to court where he was issued with a fine of 16,800,000kip (roughly $2,000USD). The cubs were then passed over to the Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area staff for assessment. As both of the cubs are too young to survive on their own in the wild a team from Free the Bears were called and immediately set off on a 600km round-trip to Muang Hiam in order to retrieve the cubs and bring them back to their base in Luang Prabang. The Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre is Laos’ only dedicated rescue facility specifically for threatened bears, and is currently home to 29 Moon bears already rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

“The cubs were both very thin and had little fur covering their bodies. It was clear that they would not be able to survive in the wild without their mother at such a young age and so the best course of action was to send them to a specialist centre where they can receive the care that they need in order to recover” said Mr Huang Sy, Director of Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area. Sivalay Duangdala, Nam Et Phou Louey Project Manager for the Wildlife Conservation Society – Lao PDR Program was one of the first people to assess the cubs condition. He added “It is sad to know that these two bears will not have the chance to live life in the wild, unfortunately the illegal hunting of bears and other wildlife continues to threaten many species future survival”

The cubs are currently being kept isolated from the resident bears at Tat Kuang Si but will join them once they have completed a short quarantine period. At the time of their rescue the cubs, believed to be twin sisters, weighed just 5kg and 7kg – around half the weight of a normal cub of their age. The cubs have been placed on a special diet and are already gaining in condition with their fur recovering and both gaining weight. Free the Bears Veterinary Advisor Dr Kirsty Officer said “After a poor start to life these cubs showed typical symptoms of being taken away from their mother far too early and being fed an inappropriate diet – stunted growth, retention of fluid and skin disease. However thanks to the speedy actions on the part of the relevant government authorities we expect them both to make a full recovery now that they are in our care”

Sadly the illegal trade in wildlife remains one of the greatest threats to many endangered species in Lao PDR and Moon bears are considered to be one of the most sought-after species by poachers. These bear cubs join three additional bears rescued and brought to Tat Kuang Si already in 2015, and for every bear rescued experts believe that as many as 10 more are illegally killed or traded across international borders. Numbers of Moon bears are believed to have fallen by at least 30% over recent decades, leading to the IUCN World Conservation Union listing them as a species Vulnerable to extinction.

Working Together to Combat Wildlife Crime

This case represented an excellent example of different agencies working together to fight wildlife crime in Lao PDR. Initial action was taken by the military and police, and the cubs were first handed over to the Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area staff, supported by WCS Lao PDR programme. Additional support was provided by the Department of Forestry Inspection in Vientiane, and the Luang Prabang Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office.

Learn more about Free the Bears Laos actions or visit the sanctury in Luang Prabang (at the KuangXi waterfall).

Text by Matt Hunt (Free the Bears)

We are proud that the Nam Nern Night Safari eco-tour in the heart of Nam Et-Phou Louey protected area has won the prestigious ‘World Responsible Tourism Award’ at the World Travel Mart in London, England, both in year 2013 and 2014.

In 2013, Nam Nern Night Safari won in the category, Best for Responsible Wildlife Experiences. The London judges describe the project as:

Nam Nern Night Safari has been designed to support the conservation of tigers and their prey, as well as other wildlife, by placing a monetary value on tigers and other wildlife for local people. Each reported sighting of wildlife by a tourist results in a financial reward for the villagers, and this includes people who might otherwise poach… The initiative has been very successful in increasing the number of wildlife sightings per boat – they have doubled.

In 2014 the Nam Nern Night Safari was the winner in the category People’s Choice in Responsible Tourism in association with National Geographic Traveller (UK). World Travel Mart comments:

When asked to prepare a special video for the People’s Choice this year, Nam Nern rose to the challenge – reminding us all what makes them so special. Developed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, they are a model for ecotourism in Laos – involving travellers in wildlife conservation by asking them to keep a record of the animals they see. Each animal is allocated a specific value, the more animals tourists see, the more money villagers get, which has led to a big reduction in poaching. The judges liked this project because of its benefits for both communities and wildlife – and it seems the people agree!

For more information see the World Responsible Tourism Awards website.

Our exciting news – after many requests for this – is that we will be opening two trekking routes in Nam Et-Phou Louey later this year. The overnight route to ‘The Nest’ (our innovative means of giving you a comfy forest home for the night – watch this space for more info) is an easy, family-friendly walk that has you overnighting near a salt lick that attracts animals from far and wide. The tough Cloud Forest Climb up to the summit of Phou Louey (Forever Mountain) is only for those who like a challenge and who relish being in a unique, other-wordly environment that few others will ever experience.

Want to take a peek? Here are a few photos from our recent trip to survey the progress of the path cutting and facility-building. (Verdict: the villagers have done an excellent job. We can’t wait to show you!)

Our new video is live!

This should give those who have not yet been on the Night Safari a taste of the adventure, scenery and camaraderie of this unique eco-tourism project. Join us on a virtual journey. And then come experience it yourself!



People of the Park: Meet Khampaeng

Khampaeng is a guide and boatman from Ban Son Khoua, the village at the start of the Nam Nern Night Safari. He uses his expert knowledge of the forest to point out wildlife and to show tourists the medicinal plants and history of the area.

Viengxay Caves

The beautiful limestone-karst countryside of the remote Houaphanh Province in Laos’ north east is picture postcard perfect. This excellent start- or end-point of the Northern Heritage Route, situated near the Vietnamese border, is charming idyll of peace. But for nine long years it hid a secret city while death rained from the air. Within those limestone walls, an interconnected series of more than 400 caves and tunnels not only provided shelter for 23 000 people from the incessant bombs dropped by the Americans in the ’Secret War’, but also bakeries and schools and a hospital, printing press, radio station, theatre and – most significantly – offices for the fledgeling Pathet Lao leadership – the seven-man politburo that would go on, post-war, to become the communist leadership of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Though access to foreigners was previously forbidden, tourists are welcomed these days, and an excellent 18-point audio tour provides real insight into the lives and workings of this hidden wartime city, with the first-hand accounts particularly moving. “A moving, balanced and uniquely fascinating glimpse of how people struggled on through the war years,” is how Lonely Planet describes it. “Compared to anything else you’re likely to encounter in Laos, the sheer professionalism is mind-boggling.”
Wanderlust magazine published a great article about a visit to the caves, and some of the history.
Tours start at 09h00 and 13h00 from the caves office. Admission, including the audio tour, is 60 000K, or about $7. 50.

People of the Park: Meet Bang

BangBang is a villager from Nam Poung Village who uses the forest to feed her family, collecting wild bamboo shoots and ferns. She says that many people still depend on wildlife, such as rats, squirrels and small birds, for nutrition and to earn income by selling non-timber forest products such as wild mushrooms.