Laos 4000 Islands - 4 Days
Discover the best of Lao's cultural and natural heritage in this adventure travel through its rugged southern region. Staying luxuriously and comfortably in elegant hotels, you will relish an unforgettable break as you traverse the region's varied geographical features of mountainous terrain, extensive river networks and cultural relics.
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Starting in Pakse, savor the exquisite coffee and tea in the fertile Bolaven Plateau while taking in the stunning view of cascading waterfalls in Tad Lo and Tad Fane Waterfalls. At Wat Phou, you will explore the ancient temple ruins at Wat Phou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is beautifully well preserved. You will not only enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the quaint French colonial buildings in Champassak but also ride elephants up to Mount Asa that overlooks a wide expanse of the biodiversity-rich Xe Pian Protected Area. In the evening, you will have time to wander through the night markets and look for local handicrafts.
Cruising along the Mekong River to Khone Island or "Siphandon" in the Lao language, you will enjoy nature at its finest when you encounter its intricate and beautiful system of 4000 islands and islets. Culminating in the southern tip of Laos, we will bring you to Southeast Asia's biggest waterfall at Khone Papheng, where the tranquil Mekong River give way to the seething, rapid surges as it fans out into the delta.
Day 01 - Arrival in Pakse/ Bolavens Plateau
Arrival in to Pakse. Your guide and private driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy a short tour of Pakse town. On the confluence of the Mekong and the Sedone River, Pakse is the most important town in Southern Laos. Pakse is the home a very important Vietnamese community and if you visit this town during the Têt or Vietnamese New Year do not be surprised if many shops are closed. Pakse is an interesting small town with some colonial and Chinese buildings and a huge local market selling fresh food. Pakse is close to most of the main attractions in Southern Laos including; the prestigious pre-angkorian temples of Wat Phou, the Bolaven Plateau and its coffee plantations and waterfalls as well as the quiet and relaxing 4000 islands. Your tour is followed by a drive to through the Bolaven Plateau. Tad Lo features three waterfalls; Tad Hang, Tad Lo and Tad Suong.
In the afternoon, continue to Tad Yuang & Tad Fane waterfalls. Tad Fane Waterfalls are located at the door of the Bolaven Plateau and Dong Hua Sao protected area just 38 km from Paksé. Impressive is the perfect word to describe these waterfalls. They are twin waterfalls that drop 120km down to the Champy and Pak Koot rivers thundering down into a deep gorge. Before you get back to Pakse, visit a tea and/or a coffee plantation in the Bolaven Plateau. The way to Bolaven Plateau is through a mountainous region with several coffee plantations along. Coffee in Laos is cultivated almost exclusively on the Bolaven Plateau by around 20000 families who live in 250 villages in cool fresh air. The Plateau is also home to hill tribes such as Lavens. Return to Pakse in the late afternoon. Overnight at Pakse
Distance and journey time: Pakse – Bolaven Plateau (38 km): 45 mins
Day 2 - Pakse/ Wat Phou/ Elephant Ride/ Khong Island
After breakfast, transfer by road to Wat Phou. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits amidst 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 quadrangular pavilions and galleries of carvings, and the top level is the sanctuary itself. The temple was built by the rulers of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat. The temple 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 Champassak, driving through streets lined with French colonial buildings, and continue on to Ban Kiet Ngong. Stop en route at the wood carving village of Ban Nong Bune. The small Lao village of Ban Kiet Ngong is the starting point for your 90 minute elephant ride through the forest (2 persons per elephant) and up to Mount Asa, but first you will have lunch at a local restaurant in the village. This tour is part of a community-based tourism project developed to help the local villagers and provide conservation awareness. (Attention: if the size of the group is too large, the group will be divided into 2 groups: one will be riding elephant during the other one will stroll through the village to learn more about local daily life).
Along the way, you will have stunning views of the Xe Pian National Park which is settled between Champassak and Attapeu provinces. Stretching along the Mekong with many wetlands and unspoiled forest areas, this park offers a huge biodiversity with 29 recorded ecosystems with birds species such as egrets, sarus crane, hornbill but as well mammals like wild elephant, gibbons. After the elephant ride continue on to Khong Island, the biggest island in southern Laos and the start of the 4000 Islands Region. Called “Siphandon in Lao language, this area is where the Mekong stretches over 14km wide and has thousands of islands between those the river flows and runs between cascades and rapids. Overnight in Khong Island.
Distance and journey time: Pakse – Champasak (30 km): 50 mins
Champasak – Kong Island (100 km): 1 hour 30 mins
Day 3 - Khong Island/ Siphandon/ Pakse
In the morning travel by boat to the peaceful island of Don Khone, where plantations and simple villages are almost all you will find. We recommend bicycles as the best way to explore. A short boat trip will give you the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins, but please note that sightings are far from guaranteed. 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, the perfect place to take your time and soak in the view. Visit the impressive Lippi falls, which are wedged between Done Khone Island and the Cambodian border. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” and the locals revere these falls as they believe they act as a trap for bad spirits. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon you will return to Pakse. Overnight in Pakse.
Distance and journey time: Khong Island – Pakse (130 km): 1 hour 40 mins
Day 4 - Pakse/ Exit
After breakfast, transfer to the Pakse airport for your onward flight.
Distance and journey time: Pakse city – Pakse Airport (3 km): 10 mins
*This is sample itinerary with no selected accommodation suggested unless otherwise stated. Please contact our team to tailor this itinerary to your personal specifications.