Laos’s only National Protected Area (NPA) west of the Mekong, the Nam Phui occupies 1.912 square kilometers of Sayabouly’s Phiang, Paklay, and Thongmixay Districts along the Thai border in the province’s central region. Steep and rugged ridges-mostly of Mesozoic sandstone and shale, with limestone outcrops at their bases-characterize the NPA’s terrain, with peaks reaching 1.790 meters in the west.
The Nam Phui NPA is the source of three main rivers’the Nam Phui, Nam Phoun and Nam Lai-which flow east into the Mekong. Mixed deciduous forest dominated by bamboo cover most of the NPA, though the world’s easternmost native teak forests tower over lower elevations, and seasonal evergreens occur along rivers.
Researchers have found evidence of 50mammal species in the NPA including an estimated 350 wild elephants, possibly the largest contiguous population in Laos, along with gaur, tigers, dholes, serows, and Asiatic black bears. The Nam Phui is the northern most home of silver langurs, and lar gibbons as their habitat remains west of the Mekong. Evidence also exists of the Sumatran rhino, and birdwatchers have recorded 70 different species.
How to get there:
From Sayabouly District: head south on Route 4, the main Hongsa-Paklay roadway, to Ban Nam Phui in Phiang District, and follow the river road southwest past Ban Pakxong to Ban Navene.
From Paklay District: take the road northwest to Thongmixay District center, which is inside the NPA, Permission is needed to enter the NPA.