BEFORE YOU ENTER THE FOREST, KNOW ITS STORY...
Don Chao Poo Forest, home to over a thousand long-tailed macaque monkeys, is named as the home of the Guardian Spirit of Phana. Don Chao Poo translates roughly as ‘the place of the spirit grandfather or ancestor’. The word ‘Chao’ can also mean Lord or Prince, so ‘Chao Poo’ suggests a very high level of respect or reverence. Chao Poo is thought of as one of the founders of Phana more than 300 years ago. The forest is close to the site of the first settlement.
The ancestors of Phana left Vientiane at a time of social and political upheaval and moved down to Champassak in southern Laos, a long journey that included a stay of about three years near Nakhon Phanom where they repaired the famous ‘That Phanom’. Later, a small group moved across the Mekhong River and settled in Phana.
Nowadays, people come to Don Chao Poo to pay respect to Chao Poo and one way of doing that is to offer food for the monkeys that live in the forest under his protection – “the children of Chao Poo”.