Small birds – with black-streaked plumage and black, long beaks – perch on the wooden veranda of the Kingfisher Ecolodge’s two-storey restaurant as guests feast on sumptuous traditional Lao lunch. Along with their shrill whistles, they show off their bewitching feathers before flying back to the south. They will come back; the ecolodge is named in their honour after all.
Kingfishers, live in the the Beung Kiat Ngong Ramsar protected site adjacent to the Xe Pian National Protected Area, along with an array of other wildlife. These two complex sanctuaries are considered important nature reserves and habitats to different species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Both are critically protected zones in the Laotian territory.
Connection to Nature
Strategically sitting on the boundaries of Xe Pian NPA and the Beung Kiat Ngong, Kingfisher Ecolodge gets the rare privilege to witness and enjoy the splendid array of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. The extensive wetlands are home to fascinating ecosystems and hundreds of bird species and wildlife, making it a perfect spot for a marvelous birdwatching and jungle trekking. From giant ibis to white-winged duck, yellow-cheeked gibbon, pied kingfisher, wild buffalos, Gaur and elephants, the Ecolodge offers the closest, unfiltered avenue to witness nature’s most magnificent creatures.
A morning trek from the Ecolodge will lead you to the swamps and semi-evergreen forest, where birds and mammals are in their most active state. Let their mesmerising forms and colours pull you into the moment, face to face with the real beauty of the Earth. As you go deeper and farther, see them move in harmony with their environment. Watch the birds flit from branch to branch, or the water buffaloes graze on small lake. Here, in this most natural setting, the unfiltered rural Laotian life comes more alive.
But along with this delightful experience bequeathed by nature comes the responsibility of helping in its conservation. The wetlands in Champasak and Attapeu provinces have been subject to high disturbance in recent years. Surveys released in 2014 and 2018 reveal the population of some species in Xe Pian NPA and Beung Kiat Ngong has declined gradually due to hunting and habitat interference. Even the kingfishers, the majestic birds that add dramatic splendor to the Ecolodge, are also reported to have decreased in number.
As an advocate of sustainable tourism, Kingfisher Ecolodge highlights awareness and conservation in all its excursions. Aside from the birdwatching and jungle trekking, guests can hop on dugout canoes made and owned by villagers for a full immersion into the wetlands and wildlife sanctuaries. As the canoe slowly and carefully navigates through the marshland, the local guide explains the essence of Xe Pian NPA and Beung Kiat Ngong and all the ecosystems they hold to both animal and human survival.
Through this intimate encounter, guests gain deep insights to wetlands and wildlife — and to how and why they should take active part in their protection.
Kingfisher Ecolodge acknowledges its role as gateway to the rich biodiversity of Southern Laos. All of its rooms, amenities and activities are made to not just bring guests closer to nature, but to take them at the forefront of environmental preservation and guardianship. By pushing forth its responsible tourism principles to its inhabitants, it is but certain the Kingfisher birds – and all other bird species – will come back perching on the veranda, welcoming and entertaining guests that have especially come for them.