Pakse is the second most populous city in Laos and is the capital of the Champasak province in the south of Laos. It provides an excellent home-base for travelers looking to venture out into the countryside, explore the waterfalls, or see the Bolaven Plateau. On the banks of the Mekong, there is plenty to do within the city as Pakse offers a number of wonderful bars, restaurants, spas, and shops as well as a relaxed atmosphere.
The Bolaven Plateau is a beautiful area of Laos and many tourists take time to rent a motorbike to ride through the area. While you’re there, visit some of the nearby waterfalls, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and visit some of the local tribal villages to learn more about the ethnic minorities in Laos and what makes each group unique.
Wat Phou is a Khmer-Hindu temple located near Pakse. Any travelers will not want to miss a visit to these ancient buildings. Originally dedicated, by Hindus, to their Lord Shiva, it later became a place of worship for Theravada Buddhists. Dating back to the 5th century, this is an attraction that cannot be missed while you are travelling through the south of Laos.
Tad Fane Waterfall
While exploring the Bolaven Plateau, travelers cannot forget about the beautiful waterfalls. Some even say that the most spectacular waterfalls in Southeast Asia are located here. One of the most well-known is the Tad Fane Waterfall. The waterfalls is particularly impresseve during the rainy season.
Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)
Si Phan Don is an archipelago located in the south of Laos in the Mekong River. The area is well-known for being a natural phenomenon as the level of the water between dry season and wet season varies greatly, giving reason for the region’s name (the 4000 islands). When the water level recedes in the dry season, thousands of sandbars and islands emerge from the river’s depths. The atmosphere in the area is even more relaxed than usual (which is really saying something in Laos!) and there are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had by tourists traveling through.
Don Dhet is the most popular of the islands in this region. It is one of Laos’ main backpacker hubs and offers a wide range of creature comforts and outdoor activities. For travelers looking to relax in a hammok with like-minded backpackers amidst beautiful scenery, this is the perfect place to come.
Don Khong is the largest of the 4000 islands and, of the three most popular islands, sees the fewest tourists. Life on Don Khong is more slowly-paced. There are several treks that can be arranged and many travelers spend their days cycling through the countryside, visiting local villages and marketplaces, finishing their days by watching the gorgeous sunset.
Of the three main islands, Don Khon is considered to be the most expensive but also the most cultural experience. There is more evidence of French-colonialism on the island including a famous train track used to travel on the island. This is also the place to come if you want to go to the Li Phi Waterfalls and possibly catch a glimpse of the famous Irrawaddy dolphins. Cycling and trekking are also popular activities on Don Khon.
Activities in Southern Laos
Organized treks are available on all three of the islands but the options are most extensive on the island of Don Khon. Trek through the beautiful rock formations and the forested areas to experience the less developed part of the islands. You may also stumble across beautiful waterfalls and spot the famous Irrawaddy dolphins!
Cycling is a very popular activity in this area of Laos. Many travelers spend their days cycling through the 4000 islands, admiring the gorgeous scenery, and stopping in for visits at the local villages.
It may not seem like much of an activity, but these islands provide a perfect atmosphere for relaxation. With the friendly locals and the laid-back lifestyle, it is easy to just relax in a hammock and enjoy your surroundings. After the exhaustion of traveling, many visitors choose to stay a few days on one of the islands to get some much needed rest and relaxation.
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