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TREKKING IN BOKEO
Take a guide on all tours. You will get a lot of interesting information about the forest and you will be supporting local people to protect the forest and wildlife. Ask your guide and local villagers lots of questions about wildlife and the forest. This will increase everyone's awareness about what is special and interesting to tourists, and will make your tour much better. Bring your own water bottle to minimize plastic waste. Accept people's generosity when offered. Often people will invite you into their homes or to join a ceremony or festival. Don't be shy. Lao people want to get to know you and enjoy having visitors.

Vieng Phoukha Walking Tour
Start the day at the Morning Market, where you can find a hot cup of strong Lao coffee with sweet cream, sit back, and watch Akha, Khmu, Hmong and ethnic Lao from rural villages selling local foods and forest products. 
After wandering through the market, zigzag west towards the Vieng Phoukha Tourist Information Center, stopping along the way at a noodle shop for breakfast. Continue to the District Tourist Information Center, and the Bor Kung Nature Park to walk along its sacred forest trails that lead to the Bor Kung Spring with freshwater shrimp ponds. Also visit Bor Kang Spring brimming with cool, clear waters and perfect for a refreshing dip. Venture to the Nam Fa River area for lunch, and then spend the afternoon scouring Vieng Phoukha’s handful of streets before climbing the road to Vat Ban Thio northeast of town for a sunset view. 

The Gibbon Experience
: Immerse yourself in the Gibbon Experience, two innovative programs centering on a network of canopy huts that provide a rare opportunity to see black-cheeked crested gibbons, once thought to be extinct. Overnight accommodation is in a canopy tree house with excellent views of the surrounding Bokeo Forest Reserve.

Classic Gibbon Experience
The Classic Gibbon Experience presents a relaxing and peaceful journey, with only an hour of essential walking. Trekkers choose how to spend their time; there is no schedule; food comes when you are hungry; and the guides are always be around and at your service. Groups of eight people depart on alternate days at 09:00AM for two nights in the Bokeo Nature Reserve.


The Waterfall Gibbon Experience
The Waterfall Gibbon Experience takes trekkers deeper into the Bokeo Nature Reserve, with two to three hours of hiking per day along the Nam Nga River. A freshwater swimming hole sits at the base of one waterfall tree house. The other tree house offers sunsets views overlooking several valleys. Two groups of four people depart on alternate days at 7:30AM for two nights in Bokeo Nature Reserve, and they swap tree houses for the second night.

Find out more about black-cheeked crested gibbons.


The Gibbon Experience includes:
  • Exclusive access to Bokeo Nature Reserve
  • Accommodation in a canopy level tree house
  • Semi-private bedrooms with spectacular viewsDelicious snacks and fire cooked meals
  • Unlimited access to explore the forest
  • Local guides eager to show you the forest and its inhabitants
  • Transportation to and from Bokeo Nature Reserve





















Phou Pha Houng 1-day Mountain Trek
Combine your visit to Tad Nam Nyon waterfall area with this day trek up the Phou Pha Houng mountain. This Community-based Tourism program will take you through the rice fields of Panna village, up to the jungles on the slopes of the Phou Pha Houng and a picnic lunch on the rocky peak.

Start your trek from Ban Panna Tai, the village at the Tad Nam Nyon waterfall.  Here you can arrange for a guide from this village or Ban Panna Neua, the next village, 1.7km upstream, depending on availability.  Walk along the road following Houay Panna stream to Ban Panna Neua, or, if you arrived on a motorbike, ride over there (together with your guide). From Ban Panna Neua, you will get a clear view of the Phou Pha Houng mountain. You will see a single jagged peak resting like an eagle perched on high surveying for its prey.

From Ban Panna Neua, your guide will take you through the rice fields to where the forest starts. The path from here steeply rises. The forest on the lower slopes generally has a high canopy, overtopping an understory of wild bananas, wild gingers and cardamom sprouting from the soft soil.  As you climb you will notice the soil getting thinner, as you climb the steps that the villagers have dug.

Approaching the top, you will notice a very large bamboo species (Mai Hok), and depending on the season, you may see huge bamboo shoots big enough for one shoot to feed a whole family. Further up you will notice some fan leaves palms, these Livistona species provide leaf (Baikho) for families to thatch their roof, and the round blue fruits (Makkho) are a commercial food item that provide income to villagers.  The blue skin is peeled off and fruits are presoaked in salty warm water until the astringency is removed. The flesh of the fruit is then eaten as a snack. 

Arriving at the top of the mountain (about 1,118m ASL), enjoy the view down to the Nam Nyon valley, while your guides prepare the simple Lao style picnic with sticky rice.

On your way down the circuit trail, some steep sections will necessitate a lot of care. As you arrive in Ban Panna Neua, look out for the special Panna bag; a multicolored shoulder-bag hand woven with thick cotton, using a minimum of seems, making it one of the best value long lasting bags you could ever find.

On your return to Ban Panna, wander along the short track and over the footbridge to refresh yourself and wash off the grime from the trek in the 30m wide pool below Tad Nam Nyon waterfall.

The Story of Pha Houng
Long ago before rocks were formed on the earth, near the Nam Nyon stream lived two gigantic eagles. They lived as husband and wife, sitting perched on the mountain where they could watch their prey from above, and easily swoop down to clutch whatever kind of meat they preferred; sometimes they even ate humans, and they delighted in cruelty, perverting their instincts to the thrill of the hunt. They reigned terror from the skies on all those in the valley below.

The Arch Angel had many times warned them that they must cease their aggressive behavior, but the two giant eagles refused to listen at all. This angered the Arch Angel, cursing the eagles by turning them to stone. The two giant stone eagles remained fixed on their perch on top of the mountain and were easy to make out their shapes when looking up from the valley below. The mountain was then called Phou Pha Houng (meaning Mountain, cliff, eagle) or Eagle Mountain.

Even after they became solid stone forms perched on the top of the mountain their spirits continued their aggressive behavior.  When they were hungry, local people would hear the sound of the eagles’ spirits shouting and wailing for food, while only their stone heads could sway and spin. This still caused terror, because when the swaying head came to rest, all people in the direction it faced died, and animals would run away.  The Arch Angel was so angered at this that a violent storm was sent and a bolt of lightning struck the male eagle causing him to fall, shattered into pieces before resting at the foot of the mountain.All that now remains is the female eagle, hanging on the cliff face, eternally lonely for her husband.  Since the storm destroyed her husband, no aggression has come from her spirit, and the people lived without fear.


Looking at the Phou Pha Houng mountain from Ban Panna Neua, you can see her form sadly perched at the peak.
Links: http://www.ecotourismlaos.com/
          VDO Fam Trip to Phou Pha Houng ( Mountain of Eagle ) Part 1
          VDO Fam Trip to Phou Pha Houng ( Mountain of Eagle ) Part 2
          VDO Fam Trip to Phou Pha Houng ( Mountain of Eagle ) Part 3
 
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