Photo by Oh! Magazine

 Ecotourism Attractions

Xieng Khouang is best known for the Plain of Jars, hundreds of giant stone megaliths from 1 – 3 meters tall scattered throughout the province in groups of up to 300 jars. Local legend states that the jars were used to make an alcoholic brew to celebrate the victorious military campaign of an ancient king, but archaeological evidence suggests that the jars were associated with funerary practices of a Bronze Age people that inhabited the area around 2,000 – 2,500 years ago.

The area is also known for the intense aerial bombardment it suffered during the Indochina War, and several bomb craters and war scrap are still visible today. It is recommended that you visit the jars with the assistance of a local guide.

Xieng Khouang’s landscape is unique, with its high elevation, rolling hills, expansive grasslands and plains. The open, flat landscape is ideal for exploring by bicycle.

There is a new one-day hike to a multi-level waterfall, Tad Kae. Hire a guide from Ban (village) Ta Joke  to ensure that local villagers benefit from your trip.

The province is also known for its ethnic Hmong population and is an excellent place to visit during Hmong New year, which usually falls in December.

Nam Et - Phou Louey (pronounced “naam et poo loo-ee”) National Protected Area (NPA), located in the north east of Lao PDR, is one of twenty NPAs declared in decree 164/PMO, 1993. With an area of 5,959 km2 it is one of the largest in Lao PDR and covers 7 districts and three provinces (Houaphan, Luang Prabang and Xieng Khouang provinces). The NPA is mostly hilly or mountainous and is the source of many rivers. It is named after its two main features, the Nam Et River and Phou Louey Mountain (“Forever Mountain”). The area has primary forest remaining in many areas, a high level of biodiversity, and a number of endangered species including tiger, gaur, Sambar deer, and white-cheeked gibbon. 

The Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area is the second largest protected area in Laos and has the greatest wildlife biodiversity in the country. The protected area contains large areas of intact primary forests, and supports an outstanding diversity of carnivores including the last wild tigers of Laos. 

Ecotourism in NEPL NPA is supported by the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society and has been designed to create positive impacts by encouraging local people to protect endangered wildlife such as tigers and their prey. The economic benefits to local communities from ecotourism activities in NEPL NPA are directly linked to the continued existence of wildlife as each reported sighting of wildlife by tourist results in a financial reward for the local guides (all former hunters and fisherman) and other villagers involved in the ecotourism project.

The wildlife watching ecotours in NEPL NPA have won the prestigious “World Responsible Tourism Award" both in 2013 and 2014.

Do-it-Yourself Tours around town
Trekking in Xieng Khouang