Riding an elephant is something everyone should try at least once in their life. It’s a ‘bucket list’ thing! These gentle giants are a great way to see the Xe Pian National Biodiversity Conservation Area. An NBCA is a protected area in Laos due to its unique wildlife, flora and fauna.

There are 21 NBCA’s in Laos and Xe Pian is one of only two which has the four key large mammal species: tiger, elephant, gaur, banteng. There are 22 key mammal species in the area, three are considered rare and highly endangered: the tiger, banteng and the Irrawaddy dolphin.

Starting at The River resort by boat, guests will be taken to a waiting van for a 30 minute ride to Xe Pian. From the parking area guests will climb aboard an elephant. Usually two guests will sit in a wooden chair on the elephant’s back and the mahout will sit astride the elephant’s neck.

As you lumber up the mountain you will be witness to a land untouched by modernity. Dozens of species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians call this vast area home, and you will see many of them in their natural habitat. Wetlands, grasslands, coniferous and deciduous forests all provide homes and food for an area teeming with animals, many of which are found nowhere else on the planet. One thing of note which is a vital component of the Xi Pian NBCA is its naturally occurring mineral licks. The local people say there are 15 of these areas where animals congregate to lick the rocks which contain salt, a necessity for life.

Upon arrival at the mountain’s peak, about 800 meters in height, it’s time for a rest. The view is spectacular and the small ruins of an ancient temple are a wondrous look into the history of Laos’ culture.

Make a plan to traverse the wilds of Laos on elephant back. It is an adventure you will never forget!