4 Days – Southern Laos
Take time for Laos! With its serene rhythm of life and its vibrant culture, the country attracts every visitor in his spell.
Arrival Pakse – Bolaven Plateau
From Pakse airport, drive to the Bolaven Plateau. The Bolaven Plateau was formed by an ancient volcano and is famous for its coffee and tea plantations. It is home to a number of tribal villages, some of them still practicing Stone Age cultures by using extremely primitive agricultural tools and conducting frequent spiritual ceremonies. Start with a visit to the Tad Fane waterfalls. Beyond the waterfall stretches the extensive jungle of Dong Hua Sao from where the perfectly synchronized twin falls originate and drop down a 200 metre deep gorge. Continue to the Tad Champi and Tad Yeung waterfalls, which drop an impressive 42 meters and are surrounded by lush vegetation. After visiting these impressive waterfalls, head to a tea and coffee plantation and learn why the Bolaven Plateau is an ideal area for these plantations. Transfer back to Pakse and continue to the boat pier for your boat transfer to Don Daeng Island, for your overnight.
Accommodation: Mekong View Bungalow
After breakfast, drive to Wat Phou, located in the heart of Champasak, and the former Royal Capital of the Champa Kingdom. The pre-Angkorian Wat Phou temple was built between the 6th and 13th century and is situated on a hillside offering spectacular views of the surrounding plains and the Mekong River. The temple received World Heritage status from UNESCO in 2002 and is divided in two parts. The lower part consists of two ruined palace buildings at the edge of a pond, which was used for ritual ablutions. The upper section, the temple sanctuary itself, once enclosed a large Shiva phallus, known in Hindu religion as a linga but today is largely in ruins. It was later converted into a Buddhist temple but much of the original Hindu sculpture remains. The impressive Naga or snake-head lined stairway is surrounded by frangipani trees, the Lao national flower.
Time for lunch during a stroll through old Champasak Town, before you head back to Don Daeng Island.
Today’s afternoon is offered ‘a la carte’ with plenty of choices between fishing, baci ceremony, basket weaving, spa treatment, bicycle ride, etc.
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodation: La Folie Lodge / River View Room
After breakfast, we set off again to explore the surroundings of the 4000 islands. The Si Phan Don (meaning 4000 Islands) is a riverine archipelago located in the Mekong River, Champasak Province in southern Laos. Si Phan Don is characterized by numerous islands, half of which are submerged when the Mekong River is in flood. The principal islands of Si Phan Don are Don Khong (the largest), and Don Det and Don Khone.
You cross the Mekong by small boat to Ban Muang pier. From here, drive 1.5 hours overland in your private minivan towards the Cambodian border. First stop at a boat pier in Ban Nakasang, where you board a small boat to cruise to Don Khone Island. Here, you can hop on a tuk tuk or bicycle and visit the remnants of the French colonial area, including an old pier, a railway station, a former French hospital building and the maritime office. Enjoy lunch on the island and continue in the afternoon with a visit to the Liphi waterfalls, nicknamed the “Corridor of the Devil“. Local daredevils put fish traps at the bottom of the falls to catch fresh fish each day.
Depending if the time permits, you can choose between two activities.
The area is home to a rare fresh water dolphin species and if you are lucky you might even spot the Irrawaddy dolphin during a short boat cruise.
Return back to the mainland and visit the Khone Phapheng waterfalls. The falls are the main reason why the Mekong River is not navigable into China. The majestic sight of the falls is a highlight of southern Laos, covering an impressive 10 km stretch of the Mekong.
Return to the Ban Nakasang and transfer overland to the boat pier, to the boat that cruise back to your resort again.
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch
After breakfast, enjoy your morning free at leisure until your transfer to Pakse airport in time for your onward flight.
The regular check-out time is 12h00. Late check-out is not included and subject to availability.