The 2224-sq-km Nam Ha NPA is one of Laos' most accessible natural preserves and home to clouded leopards and possibly a few remaining tigers. Both around and within the mountainous park, woodlands have to compete with pressure from villages of various ethnicities, including Lao Huay, Akha and Khamu. Since 1999, an ecotourism master plan has tried to ensure that tour operators and villagers work together to provide a genuine experience for trekkers while ensuring minimum impact on local communities and the environment.
Tours are limited to small groups, each agent has its own routes and, in principle, each village receives visitors no more than three times a week. Authorities don't dictate what villagers can and can't do, but by providing information on sustainable forestry and fishing practices it's hoped that forest protection will become a self-chosen priority for the communities.