Night River Safari Wildlife Spotting in Laos

A night safari on the rivers of Laos’ largest national park. Be part of protecting endangered wildlife. 24 hours.

1 Night

Visit a traditional local village and journey along the Nam Nern river, in Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park. Discover the park’s wild inhabitants, by day and by night.

Your hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 1 nights accommodation
  • 3 meals, water tea and coffee
  • Expert local guides
  • Park entry fee
  • Boat transfers

Perfect for: Wildlife loving travellers looking for a quick mini-adventure. No previous experience is required and suitable for all ages / fitness levels. Going by boat gives you the highest possible chance of seeing wildlife.

Adventures for Good: Your local host for the trip is the awarding winning National Park. They are dedicated to protecting Laos fantastic wildlife from hunters and supporting sustainable community conservation through ecotourism. See all of our ‘Adventures for Good’ here.

Need To Know

Not included in your adventure: - Transfer to Ban Sou Koua village - Flights - Travel insurance

No skills or experience required this is an easy family-friendly adventure.

Yes, absolutely. It’s a great way to meet likeminded people.

Your local hosts recommend that you bring a small daysack with your belongings and leave larger bags or suitcases in the village.

Your local host recommends:

  • light rain jacket
  • fleece jacket (strongly recommended as the night safari can be very cold)
  • both sun hat for daytime and wool cap for night
  • long pants for walking in the forest
  • good walking shoes that are easy to take on and off and sandals for bathing
  • an extra t-¬‐shirt and maybe shorts for sleeping/bathing.
  • insect repellent
  • snacks (food is provided, but you might want to bring something to snack on)
  • binoculars
  • towel and toiletries
  • flashlight
  • reusable water bottle (help to reduce waste)

Sleeping equipment and mosquito nets are provided

The dry season between October to May/June and the rainy season is between June to October.

The weather can be hot during the day reaching above 30 degrees Celsius but can also be quite cold at night (as low as 10 degrees). It’s important to bring both cool and warm clothing.

Food is local Lao food such as barbequed meats and vegetables. Vegetarian food is also available.

You will be provided with boiled water. Please bring your own water purification tablets. Please bring your reusable water bottle to help to reduce the waste. Filtered drinking water is available in most hotels and restaurants around Laos.

You are free to book any flights that fit with the start and end points for the trip.

Your hosts are the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been supporting the NEPL Management Unit since 2003, and has assisted with the development of ecotourism programmes commencing in 2009. They won the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2013 & 2014 for Best Responsible Wildlife Experience.

They are dedicated to conserving the habitat and wildlife of the national park. Their aim is for sustainable, community-focused conservation. Eco-adventures like this one are an important way of generating revenue and sharing their natural heritage with the outside world.


View map

This South East Asian adventure takes place in Laos. Unlike its neighbours, Laos has not yet experienced the rapid development of many of the ‘tiger economies’. As a result, Laos retains an adventurous and timeless feel where life moves at a different pace.

You will be visiting the Nam Et-Phou Louey, the largest national park in Laos. It is a home to a myriad of fantastic beasts from clouded leopards to Asian elephants and it is one of the best places to view wildlife in Laos.

Travelling along the rivers of Nam Et-Phou Louey by longtail boat allows you to access deep into the heart of the park and offers the chance to glimpse secretive forest creatures as they visit the river to drink. It’s a really magical way to explore Laos’ hidden wildlife.

Start point? Your mini adventure begins at Ban Son Koua village at 09:30

Endpoint? Your mini adventure finishes at Ban Son Koua village at 09:30

Getting there and away?

Nam Et-Phou Louey is remote and, as with many places in Laos, takes a bit of time to get too.

By Bus: You can reach Ban Son Koua village by a public bus or private taxi from Muang Hiam. The journey takes around an hour and a half.

To reach Muang Hiam, the bus leaves daily from Luang Prabang between 07:00-08:00 and takes roughly ten hours. Take the bus in the direction of Sam Neua. If travelling from Luang Prabang, we would recommend to break the journey in 2 steps and enjoy the Nong Khiaw town located mid way between Luang Prabang and Muang Hiam.

By Air: The closest airport is Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ) with 10 airlines operating flights predominantly to a few regional airports like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

What to Expect

Day 1: Village tour, boat ride and night hike

Your mini-adventure begins in the traditional Khmu village of Ban Son Koua. Here you will meet your village guide and explore the village for a quick tour. Then you’ll hop aboard a long tail boat and ride an hour and a half upriver.

Once at camp you can stash your kit in your hut, then head for lunch and a talk on the parks work. Another 50 minutes upriver, the boats will stop at a forest salt lick. Here an expert local guide will show you how the locals track forest creatures.

Shortly upriver you’ll pause for a campfire dinner complete with local tales. Once darkness has fallen the night safari begins. Floating the river in silence your expert guide will use a spotlight to find animals along the bank. You may see Sambar deer, otters, barking deer, owls or even a porcupine.

Day 2: Jungle walk and heading home

Before breakfast, you’ll explore the forest with your local guide. The local people have lived in harmony with the forest for generations and have a superb knowledge of the local plants and their uses. They will also explain the area’s history, once a major settlement in the secret war.

After breakfast, you’ll journey back down the river. The journey is taken at a relaxed pace. You’ll have another chance to make the most of your guides local knowledge as they point out to intricate details of the forest that are so easily missed by the untrained eye.

When you reach the village you’ll be invited to fill out a wildlife monitoring form. The amount of wildlife you see determines how much is contributed towards the development fund for local villages. It’s a great incentive for them to protect their natural forests.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.


You’ll be staying in a Laos style jungle bungalow. These are simple wooden structures raised just off the floor on stilts with open sides.

Inside there are twin beds with mosquito nets. Accommodation is based in two people sharing and bathroom facilities are shared.

It’s an adventurous jungle experience in the wilds of Laos largest national park.