Sprawling yet little-visited Phou Khao Khouay National Park is located only 40 kilometres northeast of Vientiane, accessible via Route 13 headed to Tha Khaek. The park, which means “Buffalo Horn Mountain”, features some beautiful scenery and a vast array of biodiversity ranging from dense jungle to cool, misty pine forests, rivers and waterfalls, including noteworthy Tad Leuk and Tad Xay – both can be visited in a single daytrip.
It is the closest National Park to Vientiane, but ironically it can feel like one of the least accessible to the average traveller. Sights within the park are sprawled out and the tourist heyday has come and gone, with many of the once highly touted activities and accommodation set up to be the next big thing now dead or crumbling. Still, the park remains an amazing swathe of nature less than two hours away from the rapidly developing capital city.
Highlights – Bolikhamxay, Khet Phiset Xaisomboon (Special Zone), Vientian Prefecture, Vientiane Province
Location – Vientiane