Published/Last edited or updated: 20th January, 2017
Elephants are the primary draw to Ban Khiet Ngong but the village offers plenty of non-pachyderm activities as well.
Years later, the programme are still running. We’ve seen these kinds of projects in other parts of Laos, where once the glossy activity signage goes up and the ribbon cutting ceremony is done, the initiative is quickly deserted. In Ban Khiet Ngong, the elephant stand doubles as a tourism info centre, and when we visited in November 2016, the signage was still up and the activities available. Prices are set, with money distributed fairly to the respective activity group. We had no problem booking programs directly at the centre, though English is limited. Kingfisher also has some of their own tours and they can help book the village-run activities. Note that for any foray into the park, you are required to have a local guide. We were told that includes the top of Phou Asa.
We think the absolute highlight is the boat trip through Xe Pian’s serene wetlands, and by boat trip we mean a dugout canoe pushed through the marshes by a man using a bamboo pole, a man who defies every wobble like a pro surfer. Do the trip early morning or late in the afternoon, when the light is gorgeous. It’s also the best time to spot birds, watch fishermen slide through the grasses and water buffalo ecstatically wallow, a tableau of nature with the profile of the Bolaven Plateau serving as the backdrop. This kind of wetland ecosystem and tourism experience is not found anywhere ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,100 words.)
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
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