What do you absolutely have to see in southern Laos ?

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

At ORLA TOURS, we’ve been exploring the country from side to side for more than 20 years now. Whether it is north or south, we know all the sites that are worth seeing. And since we want to share our experience with you, we unveil the spots we think are the must-do in southern Laos. We will not talk about sites crowded by tourists, but places that are really worth visiting and that reflect the authenticity, cultural and natural beauty of southern Laos.

So, you’re interested ? Enjoy the reading !

Vat Phou and Champasak

Only 40 km south from Pakse, Champasak is a quiet and charming town. You can see Lao traditional houses alongside old colonial buildings. It reigns a nonchalant and serene atmosphere, very pleasant. However, we won’t not hide it, the main interest of Champasak is its proximity with the site named Vat Phou. Indeed, from the city, only 10km separates you from this vestige of the Khmer empire. But what is Vat Phou exactly? A temple? In fact, it's more than that. It is undoubtedly the most important archaeological site of Laos. Registered UNESCO World Heritage, it is the cradle of the Khmer civilization. The site stretches for 1.5 km, so plan at least half a day for the visit.

>> Must see of Laos North & South, 14-day trip

The 4 000 islands

The 4000 islands, nothing but the name makes you dream right? This region has a peaceful atmosphere, living with the flow of the Mekong. The river splits itself into many smaller sections creating a multitude of islands of all sizes. The largest of them, such as Don Det and Don Khone, have a wide variety of accommodation ranging from guesthouse to bungalow. We recommend you to spend at least 3 days in this region to discover its small trails, relax near the river and enjoy the sun. It is also possible to admire the gigantic cascades of the Mekong, Phapheng and Li Phi which offers a fascinating show. We feel ridiculously small while facing these roaring waterfalls! For animal lovers, note that freshwater dolphins like to come and cool off in the area. You can embark on a canoe to watch them breathe at the surface (if you are lucky).

> Lost trails lead to last Tribes, 14-day trip

Bolaven plateau

The Bolaven plateau is the authentic spot and nature in the south of the country. The majority of the coffee made in Laos comes from this place. It is still grown and harvested in a traditional way. While trekking in the region, you will have the opportunity to meet its farmers, discover ethnic villages, and learn more about the way of life in the countryside. In all travel books and blogs, you will hear about a scooter loop in the area, however we don’t recommend it. It will certainly allow you to enjoy these landscapes, but it has for us 3 major disadvantages. 1, it is very touristic, you will not be alone in the area. 2, tourists attract thieves who are numerous in the area. 3, without a guide you will miss out on the major interest of the region: local ethnic groups. That said, note that the Bolaven plateau has also many waterfalls: Tad Lo, Tad Noy, Tad Champi, many magical places. Some allow to bathe, others just to contemplate 😊

> Mysterious southern Laos and the flamboyant temples of Angkor , 13-day tour

Thakhek, kammouanne province and Konglor’s caves

The karst mountains, does that sound familiar to you? They are calcareous formations, with sharp forms, looks like it has been cut with a billhook. There are everywhere in the region. This creates panoramas that could be qualified as apocalyptic, it is breathtaking. Just to admire these geological wonders, Thakhek is worth it. But also, for the very rural atmosphere! Rice fields as far as the eye can see, tobacco fields, wild rivers, a multitude of sacred caves to explore ... The highlight of the region is the gigantic Konglor cave that can be crossed by canoe. A unique experience !

As you can see, southern Laos has as many points of interest as the north. Travelers looking for peace will prefer the 4000 islands. While the most curious ones can go walk through the coffee fields of the Bolaven plateau.

And the most adventurous will explore the jungle in search of waterfalls and ethnic villages. Once again, discovering a country is above all communicating and sharing with its inhabitants.

Thus, if you want to live an authentic, human experience, in contact with ethnic groups, we will organize the trip that suits you the most. Our guides will be the ideal link between you and the local tribes. So, do not wait any longer, and contact us now !

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