Depart from Vieng Thong to Ban Son Koua, an ethnic Khmu Village. Local guides and boatmen will greet you and take you on a short tour of the village where you will learn about the animist tradition of appeasing the village spirit. You then embark on a 1.5‐ hour journey to the park substation on the Nam Nern River by long‐tail boat, along the way learning about upland rice cultivation and having opportunities to spot monitor lizards and bird life.
After arriving at the park substation, visitors will enjoy a lunch prepared by the cooking group. After lunch, the group will receive a briefing by park staff about the on‐the‐ground efforts in protecting tigers and their prey. At midafternoon, the group departs for the night safari.
Stopping near a salt lick, the group hikes into the forest. The local guide, a skilled tracker, explains how local people track deer and other wild ungulates. The guides point out evidence of wildlife, such a tracks or scat at the salt lick.
The boats continue upriver to the dinner site, a sandy, flat bank, where the group takes a picnic around a campfire. After dinner, the guides tell Khmu folktales and stories about dragons, wildlife, and ghosts. The guides educate tourists about the species of animals they may see during the spotlighting and explain the rules and expectations for spotlighting.
Depending on the amount of moonlight, the group departs for the night spotlighting 2‐3 hours after dark, floating down river with engines off. There is only one light per boat. Only guides use the light, to avoid scaring the animals.
The guides and boat drivers communicate via hand signals to avoid talking that might disturb the animals. The boat is very quiet so as not to disturb the animals. Animals that may be seen include Samba deer, otters, barking deer, various species of civets, slow lories, porcupine and owls.
At the end of the spotlighting, the boats arrive at the evening camp. Before going to bed, visitors will be able to check out a variety of insects attracted to the black light set up near the substation.
The Nam Nern Night Safari is designed to provide direct incentives to local people for protecting wildlife. For every rare animal that your group sees, a bonus is paid to the village development fund, which is split among 14 villages. If your group is lucky enough to see a tiger, an extremely rare occurrence, you will be asked to pay an additional fee of 2,100,000 LAK (around 300 US$) per group to encourage the conservation of tigers and fight against poaching and illegal trade.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner