Southern Laos is one of the most charming and unspoiled areas to be found in modern Asia. Stepping onto one of the picturesque islands is like stepping back in time.
The quiet and unassuming town of Pakse is usually the gateway to access the charms of Southern Laos. Pakse is easily reached by plane from Vientiane, Bangkok or Siem Reap. From Pakse, you can board a traditional rice barge, now converted into a 12 cabin vessel which sails this beautiful stretch of the Mekong.
Alternatively, stay in one of the riverside lodges (River Resort or Kingfisher Lodge) further south, close to Champassak, from which you can cycle to local villages and visit the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Phou. Discover the beautiful Four Thousand Islands region. Here, the Mekong River has formed several small islets and islands, a handful of which are inhabited and even fewer of which have electricity. None of the islands have roads or vehicles and the slow pace of life is utterly charming. Explore picturesque waterfalls, see crumbling colonial architecture and take a boat ride to look for the rare Irawaddy river dolphins.
North of Pakse, travellers can visit the Bolaven Plateau which is home to lovely waterfalls, ethnic minority hilltribes, coffee plantations and a large protected bio-diversity area. This is a rewarding area to explore but as with most of Southern Laos, accommodation is on the basic side.
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