Protecting the Elephants
Thongmixay district borders Thailand and mainly consists of the protected area Nam Phouy (National Biodiversity Conservation Area). Thongmixay has enough to offer in terms of natural landscape, rural villages and farmland, all connected by dusty sand roads.
Nam Phouy is one of the most unknown forests of Laos. An immense green expanse where gaurs, leopards, wild elephants, collared bears and hornbills cross. A “strategical” territory because in the 1980s, it was the scene of a clash between Laos and Thailand, which was then claiming the right bank of the Mekong. Against all odds, Laos pushed back the invader despite inferior military forces. A victory that is still reasoning among the inhabitants of Thongmixay district, the “rice paddy of victory”, where we stay a few days before engaging in the wet heart of the jungle.
Thongmixay is an enclave in the reserve. Apart from the presence of seventy domestic elephants, one of the largest concentrations of Laos, the district is also a seasonal stop for wild males that come to cover the females kept shackled at the edge of the forest during the winter months. All small elephants born in Thongmixay are wild fathers. Now all wild elephants in Nam Phouy are monitored and protected by the Elephant Conservation Center (ECC).
The main town Thongmixay is located south of the district and you can reach it by taking a left turn just after the town of Paklay if you come from the south. The road follows through small villages portraying the so typical Lao countryside before it reaches Thongmixay. At “Vat… (elephant)” <confirm> marks the entrance of Name Pouy and the end of paved roads. Before you venture in this unique forest you can experience rural village life in and around the town. The town also house a few small Vat’s that are worth a visit at day rise.