On my recent trip from Luang Namtha to Luang Prabang, I stopped off in Oudomxay to check out the newly built Nam Kat Yola Pa, a resort that opened in April ‘16.
The resort is in a class of its own as an up-scale accommodation in Laos. On first sight, the reception is exquisitely designed and decorated with bamboo and local textiles, and the pool area is inviting, with a panoramic view of the Nam Kat Forest Reserve, a provincial protected area. All rooms are fit for VIPs, and all have balconies facing the the Nam Kat River, which rushes by quietly.
The resort is more than just a resort though. As part of the investment, a complex of trails, camp sites, zip lines and suspension bridges were created inside the park, making it accessible for visitors with varying abilities and interests.
Packages combining adventure activities with a stay at the lodge are available, as a sort of one-stop nature attraction suited for both families and individuals. Day trippers are also welcome to visit the waterfall for a nominal entrance fee that includes a transfer to the start of the trail and a local guide.
I hadn’t seen the Nam Kat Waterfall since before the resort was built, but was very happy to see that it was left untouched and as beautiful as before. The trail is much improved though, and the new viewpoint and suspension bridges leading to it improve the overall experience and raise the standards to what one might experience in any of the well managed parks found around the world.
The manager, Mr Thongchai, explained to me that the resort has an ambitious plan to protect the Nam Kat forest by providing employment and building awareness among local villagers of nearby Ban Faen Village, Xay District. The resort already employs more than 100 full-time employees, generating immediate income for the village. It’s also apparent by the large investment that the owner has a long-term vision and love for ecotourism and conservation, which bodes well for its success a conservation project.
The Nam Kat Yola Pa is definitely worth a stay. Getting there: It is about 30 minutes from Oudomxay town. Just follow the signs, which you cannot miss. Oudomxay is about 5 hours from Luang Prabang, or 3.5 hours from Luang Namtha. You can also fly directly to Oudomxay from Vientiane daily on Lao Airlines.
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