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“Unforgettable experience, do your trek here!”
Review of Discovering Laos

Discovering Laos
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Attraction details
Owner description: An eco-conscious and ethical tour operator in Luang Namtha, specialising in multi-day tours into heart of the stunning Nam Ha NPA. Tours can be tailor-made with your choice of trekking, kayaking, rafting, cycling, home-stays and jungle bushcraft. Discovering Laos work hard to build strong relationships with minority villages to ensure them a sustainable income, conserve their rich heritage and protect the beautiful environment that they have lived in for centuries. Every tour provides customers with highly experienced, English-speaking guides and employs assistants from local villages. Discovering Laos has been around since 2010 serving as a leader in sustainable tourism.
Reviewed 18 February 2018 via mobile

This has been, in the last month traveling southeast Asia, my favorite experience. It's difficult to describe how special it has been, how we felt in love with our guides, how authentic and wild the experience was, but I'll try.

At first, we feeled quite overwhelmed but all the travel agencies that offer very similar treks and kayaking in Luang Namhta. We read a lot of opinions here in Tripadvisor, but there wasn't any one that was by far the best. So we spent two hours talking with 6 agencies (the better ranked here and another one). We felt charmed by the last one, Vanxai, the owner of Discovering Laos.

Vanxai gave us a lot of explanations about his philosophy, the possible treks and, after hearing all our expectations, he found for us two guides for beginning a 3 day, 2 night treks the very next day. This is a local agency owned by local people, who know perfectly what they do, and that don't fall in unethical practices. If you want to really contribute to ecotourism, this is the perfect choice.

So first day was tough. My advice is that you bring only the really necessary staff and carry the minimum possible weigh. But don't forget to have good clothes for cold, as in this time of the year nights are really, really cold. The Nam Ha National Park is very beautiful, but the best thing about our trip is that we were alone with our guides during the 3 days. We've only met other hikers today, in the last 20 minutes!!! The route is moderate-difficult, you have to be aware of this. But wonderful :-)

We spent the first time in a village, sleeping with a local khamu family. We saw thousands of stars and we enjoyed hearing hundreds of frogs in the river. The second night our guides built a shelter and we slept in the jungle. Priceless...

And now it's time to mention Varth and Siyong, our guides. The hero's of our history. Without them, this experience would have been great, but not UNFORGETTABLE. They make a so good team! Varth speaks a great great English, and his explanations were very useful and interesting. Siyong is the master of the jungle, he knows to do DOZENS of things we bamboo or whatever thing he finds on nature: belts, spoons, traps, dishes, shelters, food, medicines, water...and always with a smile and big sense of humour. They're are always laughing!!!

Final thing to point out, THE FOOD. You've never imagined you could eat so good things in the jungle, believe me. First day they bought food in the Luang Namhta market, and then they prepared everything with very basic tools. They only need a machete to set up a fire and prepare you a delicious meal.

I'm sorry for writing too much, but I want to do everything possible to bring to these people the maximum travellers possible. Both them and you will be grateful to me ;-)

Date of experience: February 2018
2  Thank Kermoareb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"the river"
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"different options"
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"incredible experience"
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Reviewed 14 February 2018 via mobile

I did a 1 day hike with Discovering Laos. I would’ve done more days but due to knee injuries I couldn’t. I was happy that they offered an easy enough trail through the jungle so I could still experience being in the jungle and it was absolutely great! I was amazed by the knowledge Souleuan, our Laotien English speaking guide, has about plants and animals which he learned from his father. It was so interesting to learn something about all the different edible plants and also tasting all of those raw while trekking. During lunch we stopped at a camp and Souleuan and a local guide from the village started to prepare the most amazing food I’ve had in my time travelling Asia. They prepared food bought from the market together with food found in the jungle and made all the cutlery and crockery from bamboo or leaves. These guys could survive in the jungle! I was very impressed. Overall an amazing experience with 5* guidance and a very friendly owner of the company. Recommended!

Date of experience: February 2018
1  Thank Aster C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2018 via mobile

I had the opportunity to experience this amazing tour and I strongly recommend doing the same. Discovering Laos is an eco-trekking tour operator that let you to enjoy an authentic experience in Nam Ha national park. I choose the 2 days experience but he offers tours from 1 to 5 days. The first day we enjoyed the beautiful forest doing trekking and getting know about trees and flowers. The guide was so nice and explained us everything about the forest and the villages. Then we reached the first village where we spent the night. Having the possibility to stay with population, getting know about the their traditions and enjoying the delicious dinner with them was amazing. Such a real experience. We slept in a family's house but, if you want, there is also an eco-lodge. Everything was great and rewarding. There you have everything you need and, more important, you live a real experience. The second day we crossed the river kayaking and visiting other 2 villages. We had lunch in a place along the river with fire and it was great. I strongly recommend you the experience if you want to get in touch with real Laos. The other important things is that discovering Laos gives part of your money to the villages and it's important for supporting their growing and their future.

Date of experience: February 2018
2  Thank teresa0033
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2018

If you have a bad knee, a bad back, a bad condition, old age or all of these afflictions, then maybe a hiking trip in the Nam Ha protected area, you might think too much of a challenge. Well, I found an alternative, its not the real thing, but its also a very beautiful and interesting experience and you save your knees and maybe your life. I loved it.

I found on the internet a picture of a lovely Akha village and I absolutely wanted to go there. Google mentioned that the village was in the neighbourhood of Luang Namtha but nobody could tell me where the village was till I found a guide of "Discovering Laos " that recognised it. (Ofcourse I could have asked the Akha women that are selling bracelets to tourists, but I only thought later of that possibility).
Xai (the guide), took me to the village ( that was actually quite far from LN), on the back of a motor. We went up through a part of the beautiful Nam Ha Forest, over a challenging dustroad with potholes. the views on the surroundings were stunning and after some time motorcrossing we reached the Akha village that was high on a mountain. Some woman were still wearing their traditional costume and In the village I saw small huts on very high poles. Xai ( my guide) told me these were huts made by boys that - following the tradition- , left their parents at the age of 14 and constructed a small hut for themselves to prepare for marriage.
Xai told me a lot of other interesting things and after we went down the mountain we still visited 3 other minority villages, a.o. one of the Lanten where the women also wore their traditional costume, had a special hairdress and schaved their eyebrows to be more attractive. In this village they made paper of bamboo and wove cotton.
Xai was a very good and carefull driver and I felt completely safe with him.
I can really recommend this way of visiting the minority villages in the mountain. It was perfect for me.
This trip is not in the normal program of "Discovering Laos", so I think you must ask for such an arrangement.

Date of experience: January 2018
2  Thank croma33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 January 2018 via mobile

I went for the two days one night trekking in the national park with homestay in a village and I really liked it. The guide had a good english level and showed us many things in the jungle, like plants, fruits and animal paths. He was able to answer to our questions about many subjects.

[Plus, as a vegetarian, I thought I would just avoid to eat some things, but I had delicious vegetarian meals during the two days!]

Date of experience: January 2018
Thank Marielle F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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