A variety of birds cab be viewed at an artificial lake near Ban Sivilay village. The locals protect the birds and benefit from your visit by charging a small entrance fee to the lake.

The Phou Phanang National Protected Area is not frequently visited by tourists, but it is home to a herd of wild elephants. To view them, book a tour through an agent and/or take a local village guide. Namsuang is a popular waterfall on the way to Phou Phanang.

For those interested in handicraft production, visit the Ban Ilai market in Muang Naxaithong, which has a good selection of basketry, pottery and other traditional crafts.


Ban Sivilay "Nong Nok", Vientiane Province

Small and entirely community-based (own initiative with little help from outside) conservation and nature tourism project. "Nong Nok" ('bird lake') is a creek that was converted into a small reservoir (60 hectares) through a dam in order to raise fish. This lake was quickly adopted by wetland birds (egrets, more than 800 individuals) and whistling ducks (1200 individuals) and others like Jacana etc. Water level varies with season. The villagers realized that the birds are fertilizing the pond thus stopped hunting and even actively protecting them.

One can walk around the lake. On the back side is a nice little forest. Very simple facilities for camping or over-night stay are available. Very friendly people! Easy to reach from Vientiane. Good for a one-day trip, if vehicle available. The last seven km dirt road may be difficult to pass after heavy rains.

How to go there:

From Vientiane Road No.13 (south). Go straight at km 12 (Rd. No. 10 then), where the main road turns sharp to the right. This is the alternative road leading to the Nam Ngum reservoir via Thangon bridge). At km 56 turn left into a small dirt road (no signs! A "restaurant " and a school at the corner). Follow that road, which turns after 3 km sharp to the right and after another 3 km to the left (watch out for a unique Buddha statue on school grounds) for about 7 km to reach Ban Sivilay. To see "Nong Nok", go another km beyond the village.

Note : Ban Sivilay may be visited in one day from Vientiane , if someone has a car and is in the hurry, since the access to both is via the same road.


Phou Phanang National Protected Area 

Location: Vientiane, 1,525 sq km

Ecotourism Activities Available: None yet

Key Species: Gibbon, inornate squirrel, elephant.

Habitat: Mostly degraded forest with a small area of semi-evergreen forest. Elevation from 200 m - 698 m.

Access: Easy access from Route 13 N just outside Vientiane Capital.


Phou Khao Khouay

Location: Vientiane. 2,000 sq km

Ecotourism Activities Available: Elephant observation, trekking, kayaking, village home stay, bird watching.

Key Species: White-cheeked gibbons,
elephants and green peafowl.

Habitat: Dry evergreen and mixed deciduous
forest. Also large stands of coniferous forest in association with extensive fire-climax grasslands. The Nam Leuk reservoir covers 1,280 hectares at the height of the wet season.

Access: Easy access to the western portion of the protected area 65 km from Vientiane up Route 10 to Ban Napheng at km 54. To get to the eastern portion of the protected area, including Ban Na and Ban Hatkai, take Route 13 south for about 1.5 hours.