TA ONG TRAIL/TREKKING IN XE PIAN NPA Xe Pian National Protected Area (NPA) is one of the major nature reserves in Laos. It is particularly important for its extensive wetlands. The first two days of this program are set aside for trekking through the forests of this NPA with an overnight stay in the ethnic minority village Ta On inside the park. Ban Kiet Ngong, on the other hand, is a village located at the edge of the Xe Pian wetlands. The villagers here raise catfish and used to work with elephants for logging. Until now, the elephants have been vital to this community and several families still own one of these wonderful creatures. Today, the villagers' main income comes from elephant riding tours and catfish farming. On the third day you will ride an elephant through jungle to Phou Asa, a beautiful small mountain nearby with great views over the Xe Pian wetlands. There are also mysterious ancient ruins and a Buddha footprint on the plateau-like hilltop.
Day 1: Pakse - Ban Phalai Bok - Xe Pian NPA - Ban Ta Ong From Pakse, we drive to Ban Phalai Bok to meet our local guide. The trek leads us through the forest to Ta Ong Village. Lunch is served along the trail. We arrive at the village in the late afternoon. After settling down, we can stroll around this this traditional village of the Brow tribe and enjoy local food with the villagers later in the evening. Home-stay or eco-lodge. Approximately: 5½ hours trekking/ 1½ hours transfer
Day 2: Ban Ta Ong – Ban Nongping - Ban Phalai Bok - Ban Kiet Ngong or Kingfisher Eco-lodge We wake up early in the morning at around 5:00 o'clock to take a short walk into the forest close to the village. There we will see several kinds of birds feeding from the trees and (if we are fortunate) may have a chance to hear the calls or even spot the endangered Yellow-cheeked Gibbon. We then return to the village for breakfast with the villagers at around 8:30 am and head back to Palai Bok on a different route through the forest. An easy trek to the top of a hill offers an excellent view of the dense forest and valleys of Xe Pian National Protected Area. We pass Nongping village and have lunch with the villagers. After lunch, we paddle along the small Nam Ta Eueng river. On arrival in Palai Bok, we’ll be transferred to the Kingfisher Eco-lodge or Ban Kiet Ngong (bungalows overlooking wetland) for the night. Approximately: 4 hours trekking/ 2½ hours boat trip / 30 minutes transfer
End of 2 day tour: The trip ends at Palai Bok, from where we’ll return to Pakse (approx. 1½ hours transfer)
Day 3: Ban Kiet Ngong or Kingfisher - Elephant Riding - Pakse
After breakfast, we enjoy 2½ hours elephant riding from Ban Kiet Ngong to the archeological site of Phou Asa, which overlooks the Pha Pho wetlands (Xe Pian NPA), which are rich in bird life.
After lunch, we return to Pakse. Approximately: 2½ hours elephant riding / 1½ hours transfer
Note: The activities of Day 1 & 2 are usually not available during the rainy season (end of May to beginning November). Elephant riding is possible all year round.