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Overview

Embrace the spirit of Laos with an adventurous journey to the south. Starting from the capital of Vientiane travel to the awe-inspiring Kong Lor Caves and Thakhek, a sleepy riverside town. Continue southbound to the Champasak province where ancient history is found at every turn and stunning natural landscapes beckon. 

Trip Highlights

Undiscovered Southern Laos

Overland Adventure to Southern Laos

Discover Laos’ incredible southern province with an overland journey from Vientiane to the Mekong’s 4000 Island region.

Explore spectacular landscapes

Drift down a 7-kilometre underground river, visit serene river islands and see cascading waterfalls. 

Experience Life in Rural Life

Travel through villages rarely seen by tourists yet full of charm and rich in tradition. 

Itinerary

1

Vientiane - Ban Kong Lor

Vientiane – Kong Lor Caves (290 km): 5 hours

Meet up with our guide and driver and begin with a departure from Vientiane. Heading south along Route 13, take the picturesque journey to Ban Kong Lor. The first stop of the trip will be made three hours in at Wat Prabath Phonsane. Afterwards, enjoy a lunch in a local restaurant.

The drive will then enter into the Phou Hin Poun NPA (National Protected Area), where the scenery becomes much more spectacular. From leaving the main road to reaching the destination will take approximately 2 hours.

Upon arrival to the small town of Ban Kong Lor, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to soak up the beautiful surrounding views. For those interested, take a guided walk through the surrounding local villages.

For dinner, we recommend a simple local restaurant called Kounmee, which is a 2 minute walk from Chantha House (dinner not included).

Overnight in Ban Kong Lor

2

Kong Lor Caves - Thakhek

Ban Kong Lor – Thakhek (190 km): 5 hours

For early risers we recommend a walk around 06:30 to explore the villages as they wake up and prepare for the day. This can be individually discussed with the guide.

After breakfast, take a short drive to the Kong Lor Caves. After donning the provided life jackets and headlamps, make for the entrance of the cave. Upon entering the cave, board a longtail boat for the 7.5 km cruise along an underground section of the Hin Boun River… without daylight! The river flows all year and reveals vast formations of stalactites and stalagmites, some of which can be seen from the boat, and others which can be explored on foot.

Upon reaching the other side, stop for refreshments or take a short walk into the surrounding local villages alongside the guide. Return to the boat for the trip ‘downstream’ through the cave, with an ultimate destination of Ban Kong Lor. Enjoy lunch independently before travelling south.

Wrap up the day with a four-hour drive to the sleepy, colonial town of Thakhe, arriving in time for a stroll along the Mekong during sunset.

Overnight in Thakhek

3

Thakhek - Savannakhet - Pakse

Thakhek – Savannakhet (116 km): 1,5 hour Savannakhet – Pakse (215 km): 3,5 hours

After a leisurely breakfast, meet with the guide around 09:30 for the 1.5-hour journey south to Savannakhet. On the way, make a stop at the beautiful 16th Century temple of That Ing Hang.

Continue on to Savannakhet, the birthplace of the father of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Kaysone Phomvihane. Take a short tour of the architectural highlights of town, which include various French villas and the striking St. Teresa Catholic Church.

Next, pay a visit to the small but interesting Dinosaur Museum. Dinosaur remains are still being found nearby, dating between 150,000,000 – 250,000,000 years old. There will be a chance to speak with the resident paleontologist about their work; proceeds from the visit will directly benefit this project.

After enjoying lunch in a local restaurant, hit the road for Pakse, a drive which will take approximately 3.5 hours. Check in and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Pakse

4

Pakse - Wat Phou - 4000 Islands

Pakse – Wat Phou (30 km): 1 hour Champasak – Don Khong: 1,5 hours

After breakfast, transfer 1 hour by road to Wat Phou. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits among the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos. The temple was constructed in three levels: the bottom level is focused on the baray (water reservoir) and promenade, the second level features pavilions and galleries of carvings, and the top level is the sanctuary. This site served as the most important economic and political centre of the region and still is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples.

Pass through the small town of Champasak, where French colonial buildings offer a great contrast to Wat Phou. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.

After lunch, continue south, stopping at the wood carving village of Ban Nong Bune.

Continue south to the 4,000 Islands Region. Called “Siphandon” in Lao, this is an area of the Mekong that stretches 14 kilometers wide, and is dotted by thousands of islands, cascades and rapids. To reach the night’s accommodation, take a short boat ride across the river, arriving in the late afternoon.

Overnight in 4000 Islands

5

Exploring 4000 Islands

Spend the morning exploring the peaceful islands of Don Det and Don Khong, illustrated by simple villages and plantations. For exploring the area, we recommend either bicycles or hiring a local tuk tuk.

Visit the impressive Lippi falls, which are on the west of Don Khong, very close to the Cambodian border. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” as the locals believe the falls act as a trap for bad spirits.

The islands played an important role during the French Colonial rule as they linked Laos to Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. To overpass the waterfalls, a railway and bridge were built, which today prove to be the perfect place to soak in the views.

Lunch will be included at a local restaurant.

After lunch, take a short boat trip which will provide the unique opportunity to spot the elusive Irrawaddy Dolphin. Please note that sightings are far from guaranteed, but the mornings and late afternoon are best, when the water is cooler.

The final highlight in this area is the imposing Khone Phapheng waterfalls. Soak up the views and discover why this is the only section of the Mekong that cannot be navigated by boat!

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in 4000 Islands

6

4000 Islands - Pakse

Don Khong – Pakse Airport (150 km): 2,5 hours

After breakfast at the hotel, begin the journey back to Pakse. This will take approximately 2.5 – 3.5 hours, depending on the chosen island. Transportation will be provided to the airport to catch the onward flight. 

Important Information

Our Services Include:

  • Hotel accommodation in shared twin/double room.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles.
  • English speaking local guide (for other languages supplements apply).
  • All entrance fees as indicated in itinerary.

Our Services do not Include:

  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately).
  • Meals other than mentioned above.
  • Camera/video entrance fees.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Travel insurance, tips, visa.
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

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