Depart the Eco-Guide Service office in town at early dawn for the best viewing of birds, or after breakfast for those who prefer a relaxed pace.
Arrive at Ban Nammang, a traditional Khmu village, where the village-based guide joins the group. From Nammang, ascend through rice fields and into a district forest conservation area.
Atop the mountain ridge, referred to as ‘Mock Mooch’ (Ant Mountain) in Khmu language, take time to absorb the sites and sounds of the forest. This area attracts many bird species with its fruit-bearing fig trees.
Local guides will help trekkers spot and recognize the sounds of birds, as well as the tracks of wild animals. Moving through the forest, common plants used by the Khmu are pointed out, and the guides collect edible plants to add to the picnic lunch in the forest.
Descend the mountainous conservation area to the plain and the site of the Ancient City and Temple of Ku Vieng along with Mahapot Stupa and Wat Mahapot.
Follow the map of the ancient temple area and piece together its history, imagining the civilization that dominated this area more than four-hundred years ago.
Return to the Eco-Guide Service office by mid-afternoon.
Walking – moderate, some steep ascents/descents
Distance – 4-5 hours walking
Local meals, water, local guide from town, village guide, forest conservation permit, local taxes
Good shoes for hiking (closed shoes or sandals with straps), binoculars, nature guidebook, mosquito repellent, sunscreen/hat, camera, some money to purchase handicrafts. Better wear green/dark colored clothing to decrease visibility in the forest.
Local and village guide fees
Do not give individual gifts of sweets or money to children. Ask before taking photos of people. Help keep the trails clean by not littering. Do not remove any archeological remains from the site of the ancient temple.
All treks must be paid for in advance and in cash unless you are booking from elsewhere. Treks can be paid for in Lao kip, US dollars or Thai baht. However, as all local payments must be made in kip, it would be greatly appreciated if you could pay in kip. Please be aware that there is nowhere to officially change money in Vieng Phoukha, and even unofficially you will find it difficult to change anything other than baht or yuan.
With tourist numbers still low, there is no need to book your trek ahead unless you want to arrange a special package. Getting in touch can sometimes be a bit difficult, but try the following phone numbers:
020 5985289 Vongxay (English-speaking lead guide)
020 5101670 Somhak (English-speaking lead guide)