alexametrics Cloud Forest Challenge Trek
Cloud Forest Challenge Trek
Cloud Forest Challenge Trek

Outdoors

Cloud Forest Challenge Trek

Duration

5 Days

Start Price

315.00 $

Code

HO-5D4N-NEPL-05

Availability

Always

Physical Level

Challenging

Pick Up

Include

Start Point

Muang Hiam

Pick Up/Start Time

8AM

Drop Off

Include

End Point

Muang Hiem

Drop Off/End Time

3 PM

Destinations

Luang Prabang , Houaphanh

Things To Do

Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park

 

Tour Type


 

Tour Date


 

Tour Code (HO-5D4N-NEPL-05)


 
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Day 1

Overview

Transfer and walk to a remote Khmu village. Overnight in the village.

(1.5 hour Transfer & 5km trek. Elev. Gain/Loss +380m/-240m; Avg. Slope +13%/-9%)

Morning

The National Park’s English-speaking guide and driver will meet clients at around 8:00am at the guesthouse in Muang Hiem.

First, visit the National Park’s headquarters and Visitor Center in Muang Hiam. The guide will share a presentation of the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park and introduce the on-the-ground efforts in protecting wildlife.

After around 1.5-hour drive along curvy roads through mountainous landscape and villages surrounding the National Park, you will arrive at Ban Nam Soy village.

From Ban Nam Soy, we will start walking along a 5 km trail overlooking agricultural fields to Ban Navene, a remote Khmu village. A village tok tok (a hand tractor used for plowing rice paddies and convertible to a transportation vehicle) might join us and give us a lift (depending on the availability). Once in Ban Navane, meet with the village ecotourism team and guide. Enjoy late lunch in Ban Navene, hosted by the village cooking group at the village visitor center.

Afternoon

After lunch, guides will show you around the village and you will be introduced to your homestay/dinner family. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon exploring the village.

Evening-Night

You will spend the evening in the village and experience the tranquility of life in a remote, off-the-grid village with limited electricity. Dinner with the local family. Option: Bring pictures and maps from home and your travels to show to your homestay family.

Note Overnight: It’s possible to be a guest of a homestay family, or to enjoy more privacy and overnight in village visitor center. Please inform guide regarding your preferences.

Day 2

Overview

Enter the National Park and enjoy waterfalls along the way. Overnight in a jungle camp.

(10 km trek. 7 hours. Elev. Gain/Loss +850m/-275m. Avg. Slope +12%/-8%)

Morning

After an early breakfast and saying your goodbyes to your homestay family, we depart for the first of the two-day ascent to the peak of the Phou Louey Mountain.

The first 5 km of the trail climbs up through a mosaic of shifting agricultural fields. Your guide will explain about local agriculture, which villagers depend on for both their food and income.

Afternoon

After approximately a 2-hour walk, the trail enters the National Park. Trek through the forest for around 2 hours passing by the former ranger substation until arriving at Tad Ang Waterfall, an amazing waterfall that has bowl-like jungle infinity pool. Enjoy swimming while the village cook will prepare a lunch.

After lunch, the trail continues a gradual ascent until finally reaching the first campsite where you will stop for the night, Houay Kaneng camp. The camp is located nearby a waterfall where you can relax and refresh. Walk silently to the waterfall as you might spot some animals if you are lucky.

Evening

Follow the guide to the nearby camera trap to change the memory card. Once back at the camp see the camera trap photos and enjoy a traditional Khmu dinner by campfire prepared by the village cooks.

Night

Overnight in hammocks (one person per hammock).

Day 3

Overview

The Challenge day. Conquer the summit of Phou Louey Mountain.

(12 km trek. 10+ hours. Elev. Gain/Loss +1270m/-1250m. Avg. Slope +18%/-17%)

Morning

Wake up with the first light and enjoy breakfast to the sounds of early morning bird calls.

Please be prepared to wake up early and get prepared in a timely fashion as today is the challenge day! The final climb up to the Cloud Forest and Phou Louey Peak is a very steep 5-6 hour climb (average slope +18%), followed by a very steep 4-5 hour descent (average slope -17%). The relatively short 12 km trek of today can easily take 10 hours or more!

The Phou Louey summit is a Cloud Forest, and as the name states the peak is usually covered in clouds, however, if you are lucky with good weather conditions and clear sky, you may see a breathtaking view of thick, old growth forest covering “Forever Mountain” for as far as the eye can see. Please do not pick any plants from the Phou Louey Peak area and please stay on the trail to reduce the footprints on this rare plant community.

Afternoon

After 6.5km climb (5-6 hours), enjoy lunch nearby the summit. At the summit additional camera trap will be opened to change memory cards. Phou Louey is known for its abundance of wildlife, and so the chance to see some great camera trap photos of different species is quite high. Together with the guide view the wildlife camera trap images.

After enjoying the wonders of the cloud forest, the trail descends down to Tad Loy camp, which is 5.5km (4-5 hours) from the top.

Arrival to the camp in late afternoon. Enjoy free time to relax and bath in the nearby river.

Evening - Dinner

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

Enjoy the dinner at the campfire and the wild outback of Nam Et-Phou Louey. Your guides may tell you some Khmu folktales and stories about dragons, wildlife and ghosts.

Night

Overnight in hammocks (one person per hammock).

Day 4

Overview

PhouPhaMai Mountain Pass. Wildlife Observation Tower and overnight in the Nests.

(12 km trek. 7 hours. Elev. Gain/Loss +895m/-660m. Avg. Slope +11%/-11%)

Morning

Wake up early and before breakfast walk up to a nearby mountain to check for wildlife photos on camera traps set there, bird watch, and possibly have the opportunity to hear the calls of the rare Northern White-Cheeked Gibbons.

After returning back to the campsite, enjoy breakfast. Today you will trek from the foothills of Phou Louey Mountain across the rugged and mountainous landscape to The Nests campsite located nearby the Poung Nied saltlick and the wildlife observation tower.

The route traverses some beautiful forest and landscapes and trench remains from the war. The trek is approximately 12km and takes around 7hours with a steep ascent to the top of Phou Phamai Mountain Pass (Elev. 1’500m) followed by a gradual descent down to the camp.

The top of Phou Phamai Mountain Pass offers great view over the National Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch with a view.

Afternoon

You will arrive at The Nests camp in the mid-afternoon and will be shown to your accommodation – the hanging spherical “Nest”. Enjoy free time to relax, bath in the nearby river and enjoy the nature.

Dinner

Enjoy traditional Khmu dinner prepared by the village cooking group at around 6-7 PM. Dinner is eaten at the camp and is not allowed at the observation tower.

Evening

After dinner, you will receive a briefing about wildlife viewing at the Poung Nied salt lick - one of the largest salt licks in the National Park. The guides will inform tourists about the species of animals they may see and explain the rules and expectations for spotlighting.

It’s important to follow the introduced rules, such as: no talking, no eating at the salt lick observation tower. We will stay at the observation tower for a few hours (depending on your curiosity and patience) until no later than 11:30 pm.

The most common animals that you might spot include Sambar and barking deer (AKA muntjak) and various species of civets, although, if lucky, you may see also other protected animals such as bears, dhole, several species of wild cats and others.

Please wear warm clothes as it can be quite cold in the late evening/night time.

Night

Overnight in The Nests (two people per Nest).

Day 5

Overview

Last day. Morning Gibbon calls and Birdwatching. Exit the National Park.

(7.5 km forest trek + 5km local tractor. 4 hours trek + 1h tractor. Elev. Gain/Loss +420m/-460m. Avg. Slope +10%/-11%)

Morning

Early morning before breakfast, your guide will offer you two options:

First option, wake up at 6:00 AM walk back to the nearby salt lick to identify different wildlife tracks. Spend approximately an hour in the observation platform, as morning is a great time for bird watching. After, follow the guide to check the camera traps.

Second option, wake up early morning at 5:30 and walk for 20 minutes up the mountain to try your luck to listed to the calls of the critically endangered Northern White Checked Gibbons.  Enjoy sunrise and birdwatching from a small viewpoint platform in a tree. At 6:30 follow the guide to check the camera traps.

Once back to the camp, enjoy breakfast and view wildlife camera trap photos taken by the camera trap during the previous night.

Twelve surrounding villages involved in this project receive monetary bonuses in the form of a village development fund based on the number and type of wildlife, and wildlife proof identified and viewed in the camera traps. (This fee is included in the tour price.)

Afternoon - Trek from The Nests to Ban Nam Poung Village

Your final day of trekking takes you along a 7.5 km forest path. Pass by the ranger substation and trek through thick jungle and mixed deciduous forest. The local guide will show you medicinal plants and spot animal tracks along the way.

Afternoon

The trek has a couple moderate ascents before descending into agriculture fields. At the edge of the forest and fields, enjoy a picnic lunch. From here a tok tok (a small tractor used for plowing rice paddies and convertible to a vehicle for transportation) will pick you up and take you through the village rice and corn fields for about 5km to Ban Nam Poung Village, an ethnic Khmu Village, situated on the edge of the national park boundary.

Once in the village your village guides will bid you goodbye and you will be transferred back to Muang Hiem by private truck or van. We will be back in Muang Hiem in afternoon.

-end of the itinerary-


Departure suggestion (If travel with local transport)

Overnight in Village home stay or in Muang Hiem after the tour.

The local bus to Sam Neau and Phonsavan junction departs at 8am every morning from the Muang Hiam bus station.

The local bus to Nong Khiaw and Luang Prabang passes through Muang Hiem every day at approximately 12pm -1pm.
In the morning go for walking through the school forest trail and/or enjoy the Muang Hiem Hot Springs before getting the bus at noon at the bus station.