Laos – Luang Prabang – Bear Care Tour

Theme

Classic, Family, Sustainable

Country - City

Laos - Luang Prabang

Market segment

Groups, Thematic Leisure

Price Level

$$

Max pax

20

Seasonality

All Year Round

Arrival city

Luang Prabang

Departure city

Luang Prabang

Description

An insight into the work of Free the Bears, an NGO which operates world-class bear rescue centers in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The center is about 30 kilometers south of Luang Prabang, at the foot of the Kuang Si waterfalls, a beautiful tiered set of falls which cascade through the lush jungle into mesmerizing turquoise pools. Many of the bears at the Kuang Sy rescue center were destined for bile farms or were kept illegally as pets for tourism. Since Free the Bears established themselves in Laos in 2003 they have been working with the Luang Prabang Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office to create a safe haven for these victims of the illegal wildlife trade. Tragic origins aside, the bears are now relaxing in hammocks, playing with new friends and generally living a fulfilling life in a special place made just for them. 2019 was the busiest year yet for the Laos team with 18 bear rescues, compared to just 13 in 2018, which takes the number of resident moon and sun bears to nearly 80, split between Free the Bears’ two facilities in Luang Prabang. Relying on tours and donations to fund their work, and with the increasing number of rescues and bears requiring lifelong care, support is needed now more than ever.

Visitors to the center can enjoy an in-depth presentation of the organisation’s origins, work, and future plans as well as an insight into the challenges faced by the team and the difficulties they come across when caring for an ever growing number of bears in care. Visitors will also be able to learn more about the bears and their personalities before heading into a bear enclosure (without the bears) to hide food for them. Optionally, visitors can also assist the team, after lunch, with the creation of “enrichment” to help the bears mimic natural behaviors which they may not regularly perform in captivity.

Can be combined with

Thematic Leisure

Exclusive

Selling points

  • An ideal add-on to a visit of Kuang Sy as guests pass through the Bear Sanctuary on their way to the falls but usually don’t have an opportunity to learn about or support this worthy cause.
  • Lengthens the time spent in the Kuang Sy natural park to a full morning instead of just an hour or two, with an optional tour extension after lunch.
  • A worthy cause to support – the illegal wildlife trade is a big problem with sad consequences which this NGO attempts to remedy.
  • An great activity for individuals, groups, or families who love wildlife and want to support a worthy project.

Time And Transportation

From To Km By Duration Road condition
Luang Prabang Kuang Sy Waterfalls 30 Car / Bus 45 minutes Good

Duration

Main Tour – 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours

  • Transfer to Kuang Sy (45 minutes to 1 hour)
  • 10:15 – Meet the Education Team at the Kuang Sy Bear Rescue Center and learn about the history and work of Free the Bears
  • 10:30 – Tour of the bear sanctuary and in-depth explanation of the difficulties faced by the bears and the lives they live as well as the different types of bears that are in the sanctuary.
  • 11:15 – Help the Bear Care Team hide food in the bear’s forest enclosures, then watch the bears search for the food as they would do in the wild.
  • 12:00 – Head back to the shop where souvenirs are available for purchase.

Optional Extension – 1 additional hour after lunch

  • 14:00 Help the Bear Care Team make enrichment for all of the bears at the rescue center
  • 14:30 Bear Care Team will hide the enrichment in the bears enclosures, guests can watch the bears figure out how to access the treats inside
  • 15:00 Tour ends

Min pax

1

Max pax

20

How to sell it

  • A way to spend more time in the magical waterfall and jungle surroundings of Kuang Sy. It can fill up the morning and be optionally extended into the afternoon for no extra cost.
  • A unique way to spend half a day – a magical breakfast at the waterfalls followed by a giving-back experience with the bears, and finished with a visit to the picturesque Kuang Sy falls.

 

Why this activity

  • Developed to increase our offer of sustainable products.
  • Developed to increase our offer of activities which support NGOs.
  • Developed to provide travelers with a way of giving back to the local communities and places they visit.

Good to combine with

  • A visit of Kuang Sy Waterfalls.
  • A delicious and magical breakfast at Kuang Sy Waterfalls.
  • Any activity close to Kuang Sy Waterfalls such as the rice cultivation activities of the more exclusive activities at Francis’ riverside villa.

Do not combine with

  • Any elephant camp.
  • Pak Ou Caves.
  • A morning city tour.
  • Any other morning or early afternoon activity.
  • The hikes to Kuang Sy as these take place at the same time.

Market suggestion

AUSTRALIA

CANADA

FRANCE

UNITED KINGDOM

ITALY

SPAIN

PORTUGAL

BENELUX

SCANDINAVIA

CEE

US

GERMANY

UK

BEST FOR FIT

BEST FOR GIT

Competitor comparison

  • Similar tours are offered by competitors.

Pros

  • The price is not too expensive for an in-depth and behind the scenes tour.
  • Easy to organize with the supplier.
  • Flexible supplier willing to adapt to special requirements.
  • Spreads out the cost of the transfer over the several activities which can be done on this day.

Cons

  • The area is inside the Kuang Sy Park so there are other tourists around during part of the tour.
  • It is an outdoor activity so depends on the weather conditions.

Information

  • For groups of 1-10 pax the activity will be done all together.
  • For groups of 11-20 pax the group will do the main tour together but then be split into two smaller groups for the feeding part.
  • We advise to bring closed footwear, sunscreen, mosquito repellent & suitable clothing for a day in the forest (and swimming).
  • All proceeds of the tour support the care of the rescued bears. Free the Bears receives no money from the Kuang Sy entrance fee and relies on donations.
  • Direct contact with the bears is not possible under any circumstances – these are rescued wild animals which are being given as natural a life as possible.

Alerts

  • Some of the paths can be slippery after rain.
  • There are electric fences which can still give a residual shock even after being turned off – children should be warned.
  • The bear feeding times are fixed so late arrivals means that guests will likely miss out.

Price range

$$

Quotation guideline

On ERP:

  • Luang Prabang > Activity > Free the Bears > Bear Care Tour / Private Tour

Do not forget to add the entrance fee for Kuang Sy as this is not included in the price of the tour and must be purchased separately.

  • Luang Prabang > Entrance Fees > Entrance Fees in Luang Prabang > Khuang Sy Waterfall

Inclusion

  • Expert Free the Bears guide.
  • In-depth tour (history, current situation, about the bears…)
  • Bear feeding behind the scenes (hiding the food for them to find in the enclosure)
  • optional enrichment creation for guests who stay until after lunch.

Exclusion

  • Tips and other donations.
  • Souvenir purchases such as t-shirts.
  • Meals and drinks.
  • Easia guide.
  • Kuang Sy entrance fee.

Possible Extra

  • An optional extra hour, for no additional cost, can be added in the afternoon, from 14:00 to 15:00, for those who wish to help with bear enrichment activities – if this is required please make sure op/res is aware.
  • Youth group volunteer packages can be provided if we have any specific requests. Volunteers would help with maintenance and construction of the bear sanctuary facilities and wildlife enclosures.

Important notes

  • Please make sure guests arrive early at the Bear Rescue Centre before 10:15am. Feeding times are set and a late arrival may mean the guests miss out.
  • The meeting point for the tour is at the t-shirt stall near the bear enclosures.
  • Please check with sales if clients will do the optional afternoon hour of enrichment for the bears and inform the supplier if this is the case.
  • Bookings should be made at least 48h before the tour. Please remark to the supplier that this should be a PRIVATE TOUR.
  • Booking should be done by email and should contain: name of booking, name of guide, date requested, booking number, number of attendants, type of tour.
  • Invoices will be issued at the end of each month and should be paid within 7 days.

Special Guide notes

  • The Bear Sanctuary Expert leads the tour in English. The Easia guide does not need to be an expert.
  • For non-English speaking groups the Easia guide will have to translate from English or Lao to FR/GER/IT/SPA. Note that the Easia guide would have to speak both English/Lao and the other language.
  • The Easia guide should accompany the group and assist clients if needed on any uneven paths. Please remark to the guide that he/she should not just wait at the T-shirt stand.

Different Choicess

  • At the moment this is the only bear sanctuary we work with. In the future they plan to arrange Exclusive VIP tours at their other facility in the mountains.

Contact

  • Contact: ACE team Manager – Nikki Brown
  • Phone: +856 (0) 209 556 1025 or +856 (0) 205 691 9988
  • Email: educationlaos@freethebears.org
  • Website: https://freethebears.org/pages/bear-care-tour-laos

English

Bear Care Tour
Learn about the work of Free the Bears, an NGO which operates bear rescue centers in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The center is about 30 kilometers south of Luang Prabang, at the foot of the Kuang Sy waterfalls. Most of the bears at the rescue center were destined for bile farms or were kept illegally as pets for tourism. Since 2003, Free the Bears has constantly rescued these abused animals and now has nearly 80 moon and sun bears split between their two facilities in Luang Prabang. On your tour, you will enjoy an in-depth presentation of the organization’s origins, work, and future plans as well as an insight into the challenges faced by the team and the difficulties they come across when caring for an ever growing number of bears in care. You’ll also be able to learn more about the bears and their personalities before heading into a bear enclosure (without the bears) to hide food for them.

Meals included: None
Transportation: Minivan arranged by Easia Travel to Kuang Sy
Distance and duration of transfers (each way): Approximately 30 kilometers – 45 minutes.

Notes:

  • Guests need to be at the tour starting point at 10:15 at the latest. Departure around 12:30 – 13:00
  • If guests will do the optional after-lunch part of the activity please add this sentence to complete the text: “After lunch, come back and assist the team with the creation of “enrichment” to help the bears mimic natural behaviors which they may not regularly perform in captivity”.

Spanish

Tour del centro de rescate de osos
Conozca el trabajo de Free The Bears, una ONG que opera centros de rescate de osos en Laos, Vietnam y Camboya. El centro está a unos 30 kilómetros al sur de Luang Prabang, al pie de las cascadas de Kuang Sy. La mayoría de los osos en el centro de rescate estaban destinados a granjas biliares o se mantenían ilegalmente como mascotas para el turismo. Desde 2003, Free The Bears ha rescatado constantemente a estos animales maltratados y ahora tiene cerca de 80 osos de luna y de sol repartidos entre sus dos instalaciones en Luang Prabang. En su recorrido, disfrutará de una presentación de los orígenes, el trabajo, y los planes futuros de la organización, así como una idea de los desafíos a los que se enfrenta el equipo y las dificultades de cuidar a un número cada vez mayor de osos en el santuario. También podrás aprender más sobre los osos y sus personalidades antes de dirigirte a uno de los recintos de osos (sin los osos) para esconder su comida.

Comidas incluidas: ninguna
Transporte: minivan organizado por Easia Travel a Kuang Sy
Distancia y duración de los traslados (ida y vuelta): aproximadamente 30 kilómetros – 45 minutos.

Notas:

  • Los invitados deben estar en el punto de partida del tour a las 10:15 como muy tarde. Fin de la visita a Kuang Sy alrededor de las 12:30 – 13:00
  • Si los invitados realizarán la parte opcional de la actividad después del almuerzo, agregue este texto adicional para completar el texto: “Después del almuerzo, regrese y ayude al equipo con la creación de” enriquecimiento “para ayudar a los osos a imitar comportamientos naturales que quizás no puedan realizar regularmente en cautiverio “.