Ban San Oudom village, Northern Laos
This village of 70 families is in Xieng Ngern district about an hour drive from the picturesque UNESCO city of Luang Prabang.
Ban San Oudom looks over Phonsaart with mountainous views of raw primary jungle. It is a beautiful area and now tourists have the opportunity to experience village life whilst bringing much-needed income into the local village by staying in the newly built Eco bungalow.
The community is a relatively new mix of Khmu and Hmong tribes with the Hmong moving down from the mountains in the last 20 years to get access to electricity, water and roads. A 5 km dirt road provides access and there is a trail to the village maintained by villagers with the support of Tiger Trail Travel, a local based travel company.
The Adobe Eco Bungalow
The newly finished homestay is an adobe build made with local clay, straw and water. The only material brought in from the outside world is the concrete used for the foundation. Tiger Trail Travel and World Volunteer have been providing immersive cultural exchanges for students to the village for 3 years to build the eco bungalow. Students have come from Beirut, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, UK, Germany, Sweden, Korea, China and Malaysia.
They spend 4-5 days a week working on the eco bungalow making solid bricks, building walls and plastering the walls with a mix made from sand and tapioca. The students learn about responsible development and visit other community-based projects in the area such as Khaiphen Restaurant, the Lao Buffalo Dairy, TAEC and Big Brother Mouse.
Tiger Trail Travel and World Volunteer have a long-standing partnership bringing school groups to Laos to support local communities by building eco bungalows. The three eco bungalows they have built provide an ongoing revenue stream to communities.
With tourism increasing in Luang Prabang areas outside the city limits do not benefit from this. Tiger Trail Travel is continuously developing ways to support local communities and assisting them to also benefit from the tourism dollar. it also gives visitors to this beautiful country an authentic experience and something different from what most other travel companies offer.
Tiger Trail Travel works with the village to establish an administrative infrastructure. Training is provided in managing finances, a committee is established to manage the bungalow, maintenance and servicing. The committee manages the families who provide cleaning, servicing, cooking and the income they receive from this.
There is a limited amount of people visiting the village at all times. Tiger Trail Travel manages the booking of the bungalow. Travel Agents and other tourism operators are also able to book the bungalow and associated trekking tours that include a stay in the eco bungalow(s). The Eco Bungalow Project itself is unique in South East Asia and is a statement for a more sustainable approach of tourism in niche market tours.
The Eco Bungalows (Adobe homestays)
The Eco Bungalows are divided into two separate rooms. Each room has a comfortable king-size bed with bed linen and blankets for the colder months. It has a western toilet and a hot outdoor shower (with lots of privacy!). The Eco Bungalow provides towels, soap and toilet paper. Our goal was to make the village Eco Bungalows as comfortable as possible. The Eco Bungalow honors the need for privacy for our guests and integrates well into the local community.
Trekking tours with eco bungalow stays
Tiger Trail Travel arranges treks so visitors can experience the mountainous untamed jungle and stay in comfort along the way bringing income to the families in these villages. A new trek will be launched soon which makes a 3-night 4-day trek staying at the latest eco bungalow on night one with a trek starting from Phonsaart to San Oudom.
2 DAYS | Visit the Lao Buffalo Dairy farm, a new and ever increasingly well known social enterprise supporting local farmers and making great cheese and ice cream. Take in the turquoise waters of Kuangsi Waterfall, Bear Rescue Centre, and hike to a Hmong village, staying in the first eco bungalow returning back to Luang Prabang on day 2. More
2 DAYS | Trek from Nong Haeo village 4 hours in the mountains of northern Laos, wind through bamboo forests and through jungle with breathtaking panoramic views. Hike 3 hours to the famous Kuang Si waterfall, a hidden oasis amidst a tropical jungle. Visit the Bear Rescue Center inside Kuang Si Waterfall where Moon bears live in a forest sanctuary protected by the Free the Bears Fund, a non-profit organization. After lunch at Kuang Si Waterfall return to Luang Prabang. More
3 DAYS | Starting at Phonexay village trek 4 hours to a Khmu and Hmong village deep in the jungle with magnificent views of Laos. Stay in the 2nd Eco bungalow and the next morning hike 4 hours through stunning scenery to the Long Lao Mai Eco-Bungalow. On day 3, trek 3 hours through lush jungle to the Kuang Si Waterfall. After a refreshing swim, visit the new Lao Buffalo dairy that produces cheese and a range of delicious dairy products. More
The Bungalows are also bookable on AirBnB and a ‘Posh-homestay’ package will be available soon so you can experience the serenity culture and community of the villages but retire to your to a comfy bed with a hot shower. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Oudom Eco Bungalow was officially opened by Head of Xieng Ngern District, and attended by Local Agents and staff on 17th July 2019.