| Viengdavanh Banphahaksa |
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) – Nam Ha National Protected Area of Luang Namtha province has recently been named as one of the top 10 ecotourism destinations in Asia, according to the website tripstodiscover.com.
Nam Ha is a national protected area in northern Luang Namtha province. This mostly forested park is home to a variety of ethnic groups and diverse animal and plant species making it an ideal ecotourism destination.
The website’s top 10 Asian ecotourism destinations also included: Koh Kong in Cambodia; Ladakh of India; Bhutan; Taman Negara National Park of Malaysia; Sagarmatha National Park , The Himalayas, Nepal; Savaii of Samoa; Donsol and Peleliu of Philippines; Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India; and, Way Kambas National Park in Indonesia.
The website posted that a company called Green Globe rigorously investigates the environmental practices of eco-hotels, and one of the best in Laos is the Boat Landing Guest House.
Located in Luang Namtha, this hotel features riverside bungalows and connects visitors with trekking, biking, and rafting opportunities in the nearby protected forests.
One of the best ways to see the Nam Ha National Protected Area, an Asean Heritage Site, is by taking a trip down the wild Nam Tha River.
Follow up your adventure in the local villages by sampling foods collected from the forest and watching local woodsmen at work.
Head of the Tourism Section under Luang Namtha provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department Somsavath Namintha told the Vientiane Times recently that the province has been operating the Nam Ha Eco-Tourism Project (NHETP) since 1999 jointly with the Lao National Tourism Authority and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
“NHETP was funded by New Zealand and Japanese governments through the International Finance Corporation,” he added.
Somsavath explained the project has been promoting the private sector, especially local businesses and villagers to develop tourism activities in the province.
The project also received an award from the United Nations for poverty reduction in Laos, a British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow award for conservation and protection of the protected area and an Equator Prize for poverty reduction.
Activities in Nam Ha National Protected Area include observing wildlife, relaxing at camps and picnicking, kayaking, learning about the lifestyles of villagers at homestays and others. Luang Namtha province has 109 officially designated tourist attractions including 55 natural sites, 44 cultural sites and 10 historic sites.
The province recorded 722,192 visitors last year. Some 65 villages are working together to boost tourism development in the province which has 10 hotels and resorts and 98 guesthouses.