Nam Et Phou Louey Laos

The Nam Et-Phou Louei National Protected Area has good ecotourism potential, with its high numbers of tigers and other large wildlife species and low human population. The Wildlife Conservation Society is in the process of researching ecotourism development in the area that would provide income to local communities in support of the conservation of tigers and other threatened species.

Houaphan is famous for its intricate Lao silk and cotton weavings. For those interested
in learning about weaving and purchasing high quality products at reasonable prices directly from the producers themselves, Houaphan is well worth the visit.

Discover the 'Hidden City' of Laos

Visit Viengxay in north eastern Laos today, and you explore this traditional town and the surrounding beautiful landscape of limestone peaks and forests.

But what you can't see is the fascinating history hidden in these rocky crags - the hundreds of caves which sheltered local people and the country's future leaders for a vital period in world history.

In the 1960s Laos was caught up in the conflict known to the world as the Vietnam War. For nine years, from 1964 to 1973, more than 20,000 people lived in a 'hidden city' they built inside the limestone peaks all around the area to try to survive daily aircraft bombing raids directed by US forces.

They were only able to farm or work at night, so inside the caves they built everything they needed for their society to survive, including schools, hospitals, markets, a radio station and the headquarters of the Lao Patriotic Front - also known as the Pathet Lao.

This site tells the story of the 'hidden city' - through the history that created it and interviews with local people - and how you can visit Viengxay and discover the area's beauty as well as its fascinating hidden history.


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.