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OVERVIEW

Luang Prabang / Nong Khiaw

Take on a challenging five-day trek to the summit of Phou Louey, ‘Forever Mountain’ – a rare cloud forests in the region. This trek rewards with breathtaking views of endless green forests and sightings of rare wildlife. Catch a glimpse of rare wildlife such as the white-cheeked gibbon, leopards, bears and wild dog and have a chance to download these images captured by hidden cameras when home. 

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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for Trekking the NEPL Cloud Forest Challenge
Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL-NPA)

Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL-NPA)

Trek through a NPA of Laos which promises to challenge the mind and body.

Last wild tigers of Southeast Asia

Last wild tigers of Southeast Asia

Discover an incredible array of unique flora, fauna and wildlife including some of the last wild tigers of the region. 

Trek densest mountains of the NPA

Trek densest mountains of the NPA

Be amazed and rewarded with stunning picturesque views while ascending and descending one of the densest mountains.

Exo Travel

ITINERARY

Trekking the NEPL Cloud Forest Challenge - 9 Days / 8 Nights

DAY 1 - Luang Prabang – ArrivalMealsMEALS [D]

Exo TravelTransfer from Airport – Hotel: 15 minutes

Welcome to Laos!

Be picked up by your guide at the Luang Prabang airport and get straight into a short tour around the town’s old historical area before checking in at the hotel.

Freshen up and get ready for your first Laotian dinner at Sunset Restaurant along the mighty Mekong River.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

DAY 2 - Luang Prabang- Muang Hiem MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelTransfer from Luang Prabang to Muang Hiem: 6-7hours

After breakfast, travel towards the secluded region of Houaphan where the last wild tigers in Indochina were found!

Lunch will be in the quiet charming town of Nong Khiew.

Arrive this late afternoon and check-in to the hotel. Dinner is at a local restaurant along the river. Try their special dish - the Sindat Laotian hotpot!

Overnight in Muang Hiam

DAY 3 - Muang Hiam –Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected AreaMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelTransfer from Maung Hiem to Ban Nam Soy: 1.5 hours Trekking: 3 hours Difficulty: Medium Elevation gain: 386m Average Slope: 13.4%

After a filling breakfast spread,  meet up with the the guides from the Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL-NPA). The guides are very experienced and can lead and help during the trek on one of the most dense and extreme forests of Laos.

Stop by at the NEPL Visitor Center to learn more about the organisation and the work done to protect NEPL.

After a 1.5-hour drive through the mountainous landscape arrive at Ban Nam Soy. Meet the village guide and be briefed on the trek.

The first day’s walk is a 9km trail passing through local villages overlooking agricultural fields to Ban Navene, a remote Khmu village. Enjoy late lunch in Ban Navene, hosted by the cooking group at the village visitor center.

After lunch, be introduced to the homestay family. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon exploring the village and be involved in daily tasks around the house or in the nearby fields.

Spend the evening and night with the family and experience the tranquility and simplicity of village life.  If possible, bring pictures and maps from home and travels and share them with the family.

Overnight in the village

DAY 4 - NEPL Protected Area MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelTrekking: 6 hours Difficulty: Hard Elevation gain: 857m Average Slope: 12.2%

After an early breakfast, say goodbye to the family and embark on the two-day ascend to the peak of the Phou Louey Mountain. This mountain is Lao’s third highest peak and the only one which is accessible!

The first 5 km of the trail is a climb through different agricultural fields. Rest stops can be taken at the farmer’s huts along the way. Learn about the local produce which villagers depend on for food and income.

The trail enters the forest where the NPA zone begins. Get to the Navene Park Substation, 6.5 km from the village. The village cook will prepare a lunch while the guide will introduce you to the park rangers who will explain about the importance of their work for the park.

After lunch, continue walking through forests and arrive at Tad Ang Waterfall. Take a careful dip into this unique waterfall with a bowl-like pool of water at the top.  From Tad Ang, trek a gradual ascent to the Houay Kaneng campsite to rest for the night.

Go to a nearby camera trap to collect photos of wildlife.

Enjoy a traditional Khmu dinner by a campfire prepared by the village cook. In the evening help the guide to sort through the photos of wildlife taken by the hidden cameras in the previous night. These photos will be available for viewing and download after your trip. 

Overnight in bamboo huts (two people per hut).

DAY 5 - NEPL Protected AreaMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelTrekking: 6 hours Difficulty: Hard Elevation gain: 1274m Average Slope: 18.1%

Before breakfast, walk down the path to the nearby waterfall, to see different bird species. Enjoy breakfast at the campsite before starting the final climb up to the peak of Cloud Forest and Phou Louey Mountain.

The climb is 7 km to the peak, usually surrounded by clouds. With some luck and good weather conditions a clear sky rewards with a breathtaking view of endless thick forests where the nickname of ‘Forever Mountain’ was coined.

To minimise environmental harm to this special ecosystem, do not touch any plants and stay on the designated trail route. Lunch will be taken at the edge of the forest.

After enjoying the wonders of the cloud forest, descend to Tad Loy camp, which is about 6.5km from the top. Along the way, you will help to check the camera traps and change their memory cards. Phou Louey is known for its abundant wildlife, and there is a high chance you will see photos of different species.

Arrive to a campsite in late afternoon. Enjoy free time to relax and bathe at the nearby waterfall. Sort through photos of wildlife taken by the camera traps during the previous night. These photos will be uploaded to the website after your trip for viewing and download.

Enjoy a traditional Khmu dinner prepared by the village cook and porters.

Enjoy a campfire dinner in the outback of Nam Et-Phou Louey. Listen to mystical Khmu folktakes and stories about dragons, wildlife and ghosts.

Overnight in bamboo huts (two people per hut).

DAY 6 - NEPL Protected AreaMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelTrekking: 6 hours Difficulty: Hard Elevation gain: 498m Average Slope: 13.2%

Before breakfast take a walk up to a nearby mountain to listen to the calls of the rare white-cheeked crested gibbon. Return to the campsite and enjoy breakfast.

Begin today’s trek to the foothills of Phou Louey Mountain crossing the rugged and mountainous landscape to Poung Nied and The Nests campsite. The trek is approximately 9 km, with a steep ascent and a gradual descent down to Poung Nied Salt Lick and The Nests camp. The route traverses some unique forest and landscapes.

Enjoy a picnic lunch along the trail prepared by the village cook.

Depart from Tad Loy camp and arrive at The Nests camp in the mid-afternoon and be introduced to the accommodation – the hanging spherical ‘nest’. Take a relaxing bath in the nearby river and enjoy  nature.

Enjoy an early dinner of traditional Khmu dishes prepared by the village cooking group. It is important to take an early dinner to minimise the smell of food and fire for the evening visit to the wildlife observation platform.

After dinner, receive a short briefing about wildlife viewing at the Poung Nied Salt Lick – one of the largest salt licks in the protected area. It is important to follow regulations of visiting the observation tower. No talking, no eating at the salt lick and how to return to the camp. Learn about the species of animals with regulated spotlights are shone on them. Spot the sambar and barking deer and various species of civets. With some luck, rare animals such as bears, dhole, several species of wild cats and others may appear!

Spend time and observe wildlife at the observation tower until 23:30. Dress in warm clothes as the weather gets chilly in the late evening and night.

Overnight in The Nests.

DAY 7 - NEPL Protected Area - Nong KhiewMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelTransfer ban Nong Phoung- Nong Khiew: 3.5 hours Trekking: 4 hours Difficulty: Medium Elevation gain: 602m Average Slope: 8.4%

Before breakfast, follow the guide back to the salt lick to identify wildlife tracks. Spend approximately one hour in the observation platform to see birds and enjoy the beginning of a new day. Help to change the memory cards of the hidden cameras.

Once back at the camp, enjoy breakfast and review the photos of wildlife taken by the hidden camera traps during the previous night. These photos will available for viewing and download after your trip.

Afternoon – Trek from The Nests to Ban Nam Poung Village

Your final day of trekking takes you along a 6km forest path built and maintained by the village. This trail passes through thick jungle and mixed deciduous forests. The local guide will show you medicinal plants and identify animal tracks along the way.

The trek has a couple moderate ascents before descending into agriculture fields. At the edge of the forest and fields, enjoy a picnic lunch inside a farmer’s hut.

Here your vehicle will pick you up to Ban Nam Poung Village, an ethnic Khmu Village, situated on the edge of the national protected area core zone boundary.

Once in the village your village guides will bid you goodbye and you will be transferred to Nong Khiew.

Facing the spectacular karst mountains of Nong Khiew, check in to your resort and enjoy the sunset view from your balcony before a local dinner in the village.

Overnight in Nong Khiew Riverside.

Note: The fee paid on this goes to supporting the 12 surrounding villages involved in this project. The money goes to a village development fund based on the number and type of wildlife spotted at night and captured by the camera trap.

DAY 8 - Nong Khiew – Luang PrabangMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelTransfer Nong Khiew- Luang Prabang: 3-4hours Walking: 3 hours Difficulty: Easiest

Enjoy a local breakfast along the Nam Ou River before driving back Luang Prabang.

Visit the famous Pak Ou Caves, two temple caves situated at the meeting of the Nam Ou and Mekong River. Lunch nearby with a view of the caves.

Arrive in Luang Prabang and check in to the hotel. Enjoy some free time before embarking on the Petanque Tournament. This is game, introduced by the French colonials is the country’s greatest hobbies.

The farewell dinner is at Khai Phaen Restaurant. Khai Phaen is run by Peuan Mit, an organisation founded by NGO Friends-International in Vientiane in 2004, who help protect street children and young people in Laos.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

DAY 9 - Luang PrabangMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelWalking: 3 hours Difficulty: Easiest

Take a half-day walking tour of Luang Prabang after breakfast.

Discover the rich cultural and historical heritage of this charming town with visits to French Indochinese buildings and ancient Buddhist temples.

The tour begins at the former Royal Palace (now the National Museum), continue to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade. Next stop is the Wat Xieng Thong, the most revered temple in Luang Prabang. Finish the walk with a visit to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre (TAEC), a museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities.  This is a great opportunity to gain insight into the Lao people.

(Note: TAEC is closed on Monday).

Walk back the hotel and enjoy the rest of the night at leisure.

DAY 10 - Luang Prabang DepartureMealsMEALS [B]

Check out and depart to the airport for the flight back home.

“An itinerary may at times be altered by our guides due to local conditions, the skill of participants and other unexpected circumstances. Our priority is always the experience and safety of our clients.”

Exo Travel

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Our services include:

  • Luggage transfer
  • Vehicles: (varies based on local conditions and vehicle sizes available). Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and back up as itinerary.
  • 1 refillable personal bottle per person
  • Plenty of water provided throughout the day
  • Snacks and local fruits
  • 1 EXO Adventure Certified English Speaking Guide
  • Additional local guide from the NEPL for 8-16 pax, 2 assistant guides for 16+ during trekking days
  • 1 first aid kit per guide
  • Each guide will have a full set of travel bike tools
  • Tips for Drivers and Porters
  • Main support vehicle will have spare parts
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Sightseeing tickets where mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation as listed above.
  • Flight reconfirmations
  • A/C Support Vehicles for Transfer and Back up

Our services don’t include:

  • Visa arrangement
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Soft drinks, or beverages beyond water – we can add this into costs at agents request
  • Beverage and alcoholic drinks at mealtimes
  • Tips for Guides
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatoraid, Powerbars, Gue, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure (Laundry, telephone)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the itinerary and in the inclusive portion.
  • Other language speaking guides

Important Notes:

  • We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Vietnam.
  • Prices are valid 30 days from date of offer. Past this date price and conditions may be readjusted.
  • The cost of air tickets is subject to change without prior notice by the airlines.
  • Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges.
  • Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
  • Please note that all the above services & tours have yet to be booked, they are proposed for your information only and we will not make any reservations before we receive your confirmation to do so.
  • If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.

Note: The Cloud Forest Climb tours are available during the dry season only, from October to May/June (depending on the rainy season)

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