Hiking in Laos: Four reasons to climb Phou Louey Mountain

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The northern mountainous area of Laos is rarely visited by tourists; but its unspoilt landscapes are a playground for adventure lovers. Discover endangered wildlife, remote villages, and some of the country’s most beautiful scenery on a hike up Phou Louey Mountain.

Mount Phouey - hiking in Laos

Within the 4,229 square kilometres of Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area awaits the Phou Louey Mountain – Laos’ third highest peak, and the only one accessible for trekking. Those brave enough to take the challenging hike to its summit are rewarded with views so awesome that it’s nicknamed ‘Forever Mountain’; an ode to the horizon.

If you needed any convincing, here are four of the best reasons to go hiking in Laos.

1. Rural villages

Villagers in Laos

Emerge from agricultural fields and take breaks at farmers’ huts along the way. Passing through these remote villages with local guides offers insight into life in rural Laos and the cottage industries that keep it all ticking over.

These experiences, as well as a stop at the NEPL Visitor Center, bring the ongoing work to protect the area to life. Sustainable tourism continues to aid conservation and contribute to the local economy.

Cooking over a campfire in Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area

Rice paddies in the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area

2. Rare wildlife

A guide explaining the fauna in the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area

The route has a huge array of wildlife; endangered and rare species include bears, tigers, gaur, sambar deer, leopards, and the white-cheeked gibbon. Guides and information centres offer advice on how to protect this special ecosystem so you won’t make any faux pas along the way!

Identify animal tracks and head to the observation deck at the Poung Nied Salt Lick at night to see the action. You can download photos from the hidden cameras as a memento from your jungle safari at home.

3. Landscapes

Go hiking in Laos to see the Nam Ou River

With thick jungle, deciduous forests, dusty paths, luminous green fields, and stretches of water, no two days are the same. Breaks are best taken at the karst mountains of Nong Khiew, the Pak Ou Caves and the Tad Ang Waterfall (where you can even cool off with a dip).

Taking a boat in Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area

4. Unique accommodation

Stay at The Nests camp when hiking in Laos

While accommodation is fuss-free, there’s adventure to be had; retiring to a basic jungle hut after sharing mythical stories over the campfire, sleeping at a homestay and experiencing village life, or staying in the unique ‘Nests’ camp (suspended baskets in the thick of the trees). Wherever you rest your head, you’ll wake to bursts of natural light and the sound of twittering birds.

Stay at a homestay whilst hiking in Laos


We’re curated this once in a lifetime experience to go hiking in Laos on our new Fully Tailored Journey: Trekking the Cloud Forests of Laos – good luck, and send us some photos!

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