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Ancient Ruins Hidden in Naturein Vieng Phoukha
  Ancient Ruins Hidden in Naturein Vieng Phoukha  
  Take an easy one-day trek to a mountain ridge, eat a lunch made with food gathered along the way, and inspect the plant-covered ruins of a lost civilization on this tour supervised by the Vieng Phouka Eco-guide Unit.

The day starts 1 km north of Vieng Phoukha Town in Ban Nam Mang, where you meet your local Khmu guide, who leads you up tiered rice fields to the top of Phou Moht (Ant Mountain), which the Khmu call Mock Mooch, or simply “The Mountain”.

The fig trees at the summit, inside a conservation area, attract several bird species, and your trained guide will help you identify them by sight and sound, and even try to lure them with bird calls. The trail then enters the forest, where the guide starts collecting edible plants to add to the picnic lunch.

An afternoon descent leads to a forest hiding the ruins of Vat Mahapot Temple, and an ancient city dating to the 1300s, which flourished as a trading hub between Sipsongpanna in today’s southern Yunnan, China, and Siam during the 16th-18th centuries. Some historians believe Mahapot oversaw hundreds of villages and temples in the Vieng Phoukha Plains. However, the civilization eventually fell apart.

A series of khou vieng (earthen ramparts) surround the ancient city, and you can still see the dirt mounds used as kilns to create kong bang (bronze drums), some of which are on display at the Luang Namtha Museum.
Update: 05 July 2016
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