Hello. Looking at either a day trip or an overnight to Phou Khao Khouay National Park while in the Vientiane area in early January. We're interested in the scenic sights (waterfalls, etc.) and wildlife. Is this worth doing? Can the sights be seen on one's own? If overnighting, is home-stay the best option? All info welcome. Thank you!
#1 tujungadj has been a member since 7/7/2009. Posts: 1
Many pppl equate the Lao 'National Protected Areas' with western notions of a National Park: an area of environmentally worthwhile land preserved against human resource endeavours. In Laos, villagers have been utilising these areas for eons. So, these areas are not entirely 'human free'. The point I'm making is that because local Lao have been resource hunting/gathering/farming in these areas for eons, your chance of encountering native fauna is limited.
That said, you can increase the chances of seeing native fauna by investing in a good guide/trekking service with the skills and knowledge to take you to places that have a higher probability of encountering native fauna.
While there are good private firms (eg. Green Discovery) able to assist, I've personally found the Lao National Tourist people to be better and cheaper for my needs. For Phou Khao Khouay go check them out:
These guys will advise you on accommodation options if you are seeking an overnight trek.
If you just want to see waterfalls, I understand that these are accessible from the road-space, and thus you can self-guide.
Hope this helps