The southern Champasak province of Laos bordering Cambodia is blessed with outstanding natural and cultural sites. The 4,000 islands’ waterfalls and dolphins, the Vat Phou, Xe Pian Protected area and the Boloven plateau coffee plantations are not to be missed.
What to Experience?
Southern Laos has plenty to offer and you‘ll probably be keen to come back, whoever you are, all the family will find something new to discover here, no need to trek.
Visit Vat Phou pre-angkorian temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located near Champasak town and across from Don Daeng Island on the Mekong River where you’ll find a range of accommodation from homestays to boutique hotel. In Don Daeng, local guides can be hired for walks around the island, boat trips and bird watching.
Be thrilled by the ‘fracas’ of the Four Thousand Islands’ powerful waterfalls, considered to be the largest complex -up to 14 km wide- of rapids in the world. They are best seen from Don Det and Don Khone islands. Hop on a bike to discover the islands and their historical heritage left by the French, or take a boat to cruise through the mysterious flooded forests before going to spot the endangered Irrawady dolphin species.
Don Ko Island is famous for silk weaving and homestays with local families are available.
Further North in the Bolovens Plateau some 1,500 m above sea level, taste and buy one of the finest Arabica coffees and admire the Xe Katamtok and Tad Fane Waterfalls, where you can stay overnight.
In Xe Pian National Protected Area, considered the second most important biodiversity conservation area in Laos, ride an elephant from Kiat Ngong village, see an archaeological site, Pu Asa, or learn about medicinal plants and forest products. You can stay overnight in Kiat Ngong’s community-operated bungalows overlooking an expansive wetland that is excellent for bird watching.
The fittest can choose between different treks into Xe Pian or Pu Xieng Thong National Protected Areas, the more adventurous will opt for the Tree top Explorer tour.
How does it help?
The south offers infinite opportunities to sustain the local economy by taking part in activities offered by the provincial tourism office or by local agents, by purchasing locally made products, buying directly from the communities and of course staying overnight in homestays. But you can also opt for one of the more responsible comfortable hotels, La Folie in Don Daeng, Pakse Hotel in Pakse, or King Fisher Lodge in Xe Pian NPA or Tad Fan resort in the Boloven.
By riding your elephant in Phou Asa, you will encourage the preservation of this animal while protecting the surrounded forest of the third most important national park of Southeast Asia. It will bring revenue to the villagers and limit illegal poaching activities. Visiting this area will give the community pride in their heritage and will encourage them to take care of their environment and their cultural legacy.
Champasak Provincial Tourism Office & Champasak Eco Guide Service
Ban Thasalakham, in Pakse
Tel: +856 (0) 31 212 021
For more information on trekking visit www.ecotourismlaos.com/champassak.htm