Southern Laos, charming by nature
Discover through this video the charms of the Champassak region in the South of Laos which offers a wide range of exciting experiences: ancient temples and traditional craftsmen for culture, waterfalls and bolaven plateau for nature, zip lines and kayaks for adventure, the peaceful cities of Pakse and Champassak to enjoy fine Lao cuisine and finally the 4,000 islands to relax.
1- WAT PHOU – CHAMPASSAK
Champassak, formerly named Bassac and former capital of the province of Champassak is a small town located in the extreme south of Laos nestled on the western bank of the Mekong. When the Khmer empire ruled the country, by the sacred mountain of Phu Kao was built the famous temple of Wat Phou (meaning “Temple of the mountain” in Lao). Since 2001, the entire Wat Phou site (about 84 hectares) is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site and is considered the most important archaeological site in Laos.
After the Khmer occupation, the Wat Phou site became a sacred Buddhist sanctuary throughout the country. Every year on the 15th day of the growing moon of the 3rd month is celebrated the Wat Phou Festival which coincides with the Buddhist festival of Makha Busa.
2- TRADITIONAL ARTISANS
Laos is a country where local and traditional crafts still remain today, and the south of the country is not an exception! During your stay in southern Laos, take time to explore villages of different ethnic groups where you may discover weavers who use old wooden looms, some who are specialized in sculpture or pottery or even still working with bamboo which holds a central place in Laotian culture!
3- mekong – the mother of all river
The Mekong, the 10th largest river in the world measuring about 5000km, flows through 6 countries in Asia: China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It crosses Laos from north to south but it is in the region of the 4.000 islands that it is the widest where in the rainy season it can reach up to 14km
The Mekong draws its name from the Tai ethnic group: originally “Mae Nam Khong” shortened to “Mae Khong” meaning “The mother of all rivers”.
During your stay in this region, enjoy a cruise on the Mekong River aboard a small traditional wooden boat or for the more adventurous, kayaking is also possible. But above all do not miss the beauty of a sunset on this emblematic river!
4- 4.000 islands
At the southern end of the country, forming the border with Cambodia is an archipelago composed of small islands lost in the heart of the Mekong, which reaches nearly 14 km wide during the rainy season. In the dry season, the major part of the Mekong waters withdraw and thousands of islands and islets appear, hence the name “Si Phan Don” in Lao: the 4,000 islands. The three main islands are: Don Det, Don Khon and Done Kong.
The 4,000 island region is a haven of peace and tranquility very much preserved. At the heart of this incredible nature, you can rent a bike to discover the region, kayak on the Mekong or explore beautiful waterfalls! But do not forget to admire the sunset on the Mekong from a bungalow or a hammock at the water’s edge. Here relaxation is the key word!
5- Khone Phapheng
Khone Phapheng Falls, located on the Mekong River in the Champassak region, are about 21m high and extend over several rapids of about ten kilometres. Their flow, which can reach more than 49,000m3 per second during the rainy season, is one of the highest in the world. Nicknamed the Niagara Falls of Asia, Khone Phapheng is truly a wonder of nature, not to be missed during your stay in southern Laos.
6- Tad Fan
In the heart of an incredible jungle, the impressive twin waterfalls of Tad Fane flow more than 100 meters along steep cliffs before flowing into the gorges of the tropical forest of Dong Hua Sao National Park. Many treks are organized to reach Tad Fane often considered as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Laos! You can also discover this green nature by kayak or zip line.
Currently capital of Champassak province, it is the real hub of southern Laos with 70,000 inhabitants and its airport that serves the famous Bolaven plateau. Don’t miss out on visiting this region by motorcycle or jeep to get close to the many local tea and coffee plantations, lush nature and numerous waterfalls!
In the town of Pakse you can also stroll along the country’s largest local market (Dao Heuang morning market), visit sumptuous temples (Wat Luang) or the Champassak museum.