Salavan – Sekong – Attapeu
Part of the Bolaven Plateau is located in these three provinces and that alone is already reason enough to visit the provinces when you are in Laos! The three provinces are located in the south of Laos and all have many different ethnic groups withing its borders.
The capital city of Attapeu province is also officially named Muang Samakhi Xai but mostly referred to as simply ‘Attapeu’. This province is not visited by many tourists but has a lot of beautiful nature to offer the people who come and visit it. The province has its own airport but due to several reasons no flights are currently landing or departing from there. One of the most spectacular waterfalls of Laos is to be found in Laos and is named Tad Saepha. It’s about 23 meters high and a staggering 120 metres wide. The waterfall is located in the Xe Pian National Protected Area. For adventurous travelers Attapeu can be a very interesting province with many places visited by few people, let alone foreign visitors.
Bordering Vietnam in the east and Thailand to the west this large province is diverse, interesting and worth a visit. Tadlo and its surroundings is probably the most visited area of the province but the province offers a lot more. Many of its main sites to visit are located on the Bolaven Plateau.
This waterfall is not visited often because the road/ path/ trail leading there is difficult. It’s about 15 km from Salavan town. The waterfall is about 30 meters high and 5 meters wide. The green forests surrounding the waterfall make it even more impressive and you might feel like you stepped into a fairytale.
Tad Lo, Tad Hang and Tad Soung
This area is worth a visit and the three waterfalls are nice to see. The bridge crossing the Xe Set river in Ban Senvang (location of Tad Hang) was destroyed during heavy floodings in 2019 but you can still enjoy the area and visit the waterfalls. The view from Tad Soung is very nice and swimming close to Tad Lo and Tad Hang is refreshing and a nice way spending (part of) a day.
Broken bridge of Souphanouvong
About 25 km from Salavan town you can find a broken bridge named the Khua Ban Danh Bridge. It was designed by the ‘red prince’ Mr. Souphanouvong and built by workers in 1942. In 1968 it was bombed down and destroyed by planes of the US Air Force when they tried to cut off one of the suply lines of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Souphanouvong became the first president of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic after the revolution of 1975.
Located in Vapi District, in the village named Ban Suliya you can find the Kengku waterfall. The Sedone and Xe Set come together here and nature formed a nice area to visit.
The town is worth a night or two if you are in the area. The city was completely destroyed around 1971-1972 in the Indochina War but despite this you can find charm and some nice things in the city. The statue of Ong Keo (one of the leaders who resisted French colonial occupation) is interesting and worth a stop and close to the hospital you can find his stupa. The market is nice to visit and you might see people from different ethnic groups visiting the market to sell and buy things.
This province was only created in 1984. Before the villages and lands of the province were part of Salavan and Attapeu provinces. It’s a very diverse province in terms of ethnicity of its people. Most people in the province are not Buddhist and temples are not seen in most of the villages and towns of Sekong. It’s the second smallest province of the country and it covers an area of 7,665 square kilometers (the smallest province is Bokeo in the north of the country). Sekong has some amazing natural areas and coffee plantations are also to be found in the province.
Ban Kokphoungtai (Thatheng District) is visited by tourists and gives an impression of the Katu people living in the village. There are currently two places to stay in the village (July 2020) and Mr. Hook is offering tours and trekkings in and around the village. Be respectful to the locals and keep in mind that the village is different from the cities (with mainly Vietnamese, Chinese and Lao people) and the villages in the lowlands (mostly Lao Loum people).