Nam Eng Homestay and Kao Rao Cave Exploration.
Along the Tea Caravan Trail: Nam Eng Homestay and Kao Rao Cave Exploration. Along Route 3, between Vieng Phoukha and Luang Namtha.
The local guides in Ban Nam Eng have received basic training and provide homestay and a short tour program. The trail begins at Ban Nam Eng, a Khmu village approximately 12 km from Vieng Phoukha Town.
Short tour program (without homestay, or as part of the homestay program): The paths go through some primary jungle and level out along the Nam Chook river. Here your local guide will show you some of the older trees that support a wide range of plant and animal life. Your guide will continue to explain some of the natural history of the area, practice bird-calling and demonstrate fish-feeding along the river side and help you explore Kao Rao lime stone cave.
Homestay: The homestay in Ban Nam Eng includes:
- Khmu traditional massage
- Bamboo basketry practicing
- Rice & traditional food cooking
- Khmu folk song, dancing and folk tales
- Fishing by Eng River and rice planting in the season.
- The short tour program described above
Kao Rao Cave: Vieng Phoukha town is surrounded by limestone karsts formations that have many interesting and beautiful caves. Formed by centuries of weathering that has gradually carved huge caverns out of the porous limestone. Vieng Phoukha’s caves have some of the most beautiful underground formations in northern Laos. During prehistoric times many of the caves might have been inhabited by people, but today they primarily support nesting swifts and thousands of roosting bats of over a dozen species. Some of the most accessible are the caves near Nam Eng Village (Tham Kao Rao).
Ban Nam Eng: The people of Ban Nam Eng are of the Khmu Kuean ethnic group and their ancestors lived in the area of Vieng Phoukha district since more than 300 years ago. Ban Nam Eng has been in its current location since 1972.
The Khmu: The Khmu people are the second largest ethnic group in the country. They speak their own language which is more similar to Cambodian Khmer than Lao. The Latin alphabet is used to write Khmu language. The Khmu minority people worship spirits, especially house, river, jungle, animal and ancestor spirits.
The Khmu are known well for their folk song, folk tales and traditional dances, and your hosts would be happy to demonstrate these during your homestay.
Trail Difficulty level: easy, suitable for families
Seasonality: All year round
Distance: 12 km from Vieng Phoukha Town
Duration: Half day for short tour program only or 1 night and half day for homestay option (incl. short tour program)
For homestay: start time: afternoon End time: after lunch
Departure from: Ban Nam Eng Arrival at: Ban Nam Eng
Transport: Visitors arrive in Ban Nam Eng using their own transport
Meals: Dinner, breakfast, and lunch for those opting for the short tour program (homestay option only)
Activities: Participate in activities of the family depending on the season, cave visit, nature walks and interpretation
Maximum group size: flexible
Prices include: Short tour program: Local guide, cave entrance fee; Homestay option: Local guide, cave entrance fee , accommodation, meals and water, family activities, massage fee, cultural performances, contribution to village development fund.