Take short or long guided treks to revered forests and lakes, and to see the remains of Muang Kao historical site. Stay with the Katang people with their unique beliefs or embark on a challenging five-day expedition.
What to experience ?
Savannakhet, Lao’s most populated province, stretches between Thailand and Viet Nam. On your way to Southern Laos, the province deserves a stopover to see its sacred landscapes, various natural and religious sites, and to meet with seldom-visited ethnic groups.
The Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) and its eco-guide unit is the best place to collect information and book a tour. The trips range from one to five days in small groups with trained English-speaking guides. Visitors can take a day or overnight trip to the beautiful Dong Natad Provincial Protected Area near Savannakhet town, or choose from a number of more adventurous overnight treks. One of these is into the Dong Phou Vieng and Phou Xang He National Protected Area, where there is a chance to see rare wildlife such as Elds deer, hornbills, silvered langur, and if you are lucky, the stunning and endangered Douc langur.
In Dong Natad you will walk or cycle through old-growth forests and around the sacred Nong Lom Lake with a visit to the second most important religious site in Laos, That Ing Hang stupa and the remains of the ancient city of Muang Kao. The three-day “Katang Trail to the Sacred Forest” trek takes you into the forests of Dong Phou Vieng National Protected Area with local village guides and, briefly into the fascinating lives of the Katang people, returning by river to Savannakhet. For those looking for true adventure the five-day trek along the Annamite Mountain Range into Phou Xang He National Protected Area takes you into steep forested mountains with spectacular views over central Laos combining camping with homestays in remote ethnic villages. A 4WD journey takes you comfortably back.
At bedtime, ladies and gentlemen need to part into separate houses. Dare to try the culinary experiences involving unusual eggs or insects.
How does it help ?
The Eco Guides Service and ecotourism programme was first developed with help from the Netherlands Development Agency (SNV). The goal is to provide employment and income to local people and promote the improved conservation of the protected areas in Savannakhet.
As in all ecotourism projects, your guide, your hosts and the people involved are inhabitants of the visited area. They are simply the best-placed to describe their lifestyle, and where to experience some unique sightseeing. Most of the revenue generated stays in the province.
Village Development Funds have been created to ensure the fair distribution of tourism revenue within participating communities while an additional Conservation Trust Fund assists government staff to monitor wildlife and undertake management activities in the protected areas. As an added incentive for conservation, a bonus payment is also paid to the villages whenever their guides are able to sight rare wildlife for visitors.
Provincial Tourism Office: Savannakhet Province.
The longer treks into the National Protected Areas depart only once a week.
Rasphanit road, Savannakhet, Savannakhet Province
Phone: +856 (0) 41 214 203
Website: www.savannakhet-trekking.com or www.ecotourismlaos.com/ecotourismprojects
GPS references: Marker indicates Savannakhet, not where the Eco Guide Service is exactly