Southern Laos Tour: A journey from Vientiane through the spectacular Kong Lor Caves to Savannakhet, continuing south to Champasak and the 4000 islands. Take a boat ride through the caves and explore local villages to see daily life taking place. We also visit the impressive Lippi Falls on Don Khone and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wat Phou, a stunning pre-Angkorian temple.
Southern Laos Tour: Day 1 – Vientiane – Ban Kong Lor (L)
This morning you will be met by your driver and guide at 08:00 in Vientiane, to begin the journey south along route 13. This first leg of the journey takes around 3 hours and it is interesting to have a quick stop at Wat Prabath Phonsane (‘Temple of the footprint of Buddha’).
You will then leave the highway and enter the Phou Hin Poun NPA (National Protected Area). The scenery will become much more spectacular, featuring limestone karsts, forests and rice paddies. From leaving the highway to reaching your destination will take approximately 2 hours.
Your guide will have brought a picnic lunch from Vientiane so you can find a suitable spot for lunch and stop whenever you like. On arrival in the small town of Ban Kong Lor you will check in, freshen up and then head out to explore the famous Kong Lor Caves.
You will be given life jackets and head torches before a short walk around to the main entrance of the cave. Upon entering the cave, you will board a long tail boat which will take you through the length of this spectacular cave along an underground section of the Hin Boun River – a length of 7.5km before you see daylight again!
The river flows all year and reveals vast formations of stalactites and stalagmites, which you will explore partly on foot whilst inside the cave. In places the cave is up to 90m wide and 100m high. The cave is still used by local villagers as an access route to the region beyond (it is far quicker than climbing over the mountains which this cave cuts through!).
Once out on the other side you can stop for refreshments and walk to local villages, enjoying the scenery and observing a simple way of life (discuss with your guide how far you would like to walk).Return by boat, travelling ‘downstream’ through the cave, to Ban Kong Lor.
Overnight in Ban Kong Lor
Southern Laos Tour: Day 2 – Kong Lor Caves – Thakhek – Savannakhet (B)
This morning your guide will accompany you on a walk to explore the surrounding villages. Discuss with your guide what time and how far you would like to go, but we recommend going before breakfast. Early mornings can be the most interesting, as locals are preparing for their day and the soft morning sunshine fills the valley, making it very photogenic. The drive to Thakhek will take approximately 4 hours and you will arrive in time for lunch at Inthira Thakhek (on your own account). Thakhek is a very sleepy town with some attractive colonial buildings.
The drive to Savannakhet takes approximately 1.5 hours. Before entering Savannakhet you will make a stop at the beautiful 16th Century temple of That Ing Hang. An impressive central stupa dominates a courtyard which is flanked by statues of Lord Buddha, in a style similar to Wat Sisaket in Vientiane. That Ing Hang is among the most revered temples in Laos and many Buddhists will travel here during December for the annual ‘Boun Phathat’ ceremony.
Continue in to Savannakhet. The city is most famous as the birthplace of the father of the Lao People’s Democratic Repulic (Lao PDR), Kaysone Phomvihane, who was born here in 1920. Take a short tour of the architectural highlights, which include various French villas and the striking St. Teresa Catholic Church.
Visit the small but very interesting Dinosaur Museum. Dinosaur remains are being found nearby which are between 150,000,000 – 250,000,000 years old. You can speak to the resident paleontologists about their work and the proceeds from your visit help to keep this project going.
The remainder of the day is free at leisure to enjoy a swim and take a stroll along the Mekong.
Overnight in Savannakhet.
Southern Laos Tour: Day 3 – Savannakhet – Champasak (B)
After a leisurely breakfast, your guide will meet you to continue your journey to Pakse, taking 3.5 hours.
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, so if you visit this town during the Têt (Vietnamese New Year), do not be surprised if many shops are closed. This small city has a mixture of Chinese and French architecture and some lively markets.
You may wish to stop in Pakse for lunch (not included) or continue straight on to Champasak, 1 hour further south. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Champasak.
Overnight in Champasak
Southern Laos Tour: Day 4 – 4000 Islands – Champasak (B,L)
Depart at 08:00 for a full day exploring the area known locally as Sipandon (‘4000 Islands’). In this beautiful area the Mekong River reaches 14 kilometres wide and thousands of small islands dot the waterway.
Travel first by car for around 2 hours to the village of Ban Nakasan. From here you will take a local boat to the peaceful islands of Done Det and Done Khone, where plantations and simple villages are almost all you will find. We recommend bicycles as the best way to explore, or a tuk-tuk if you prefer. Start with a short boat trip will give you the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin. Please note that sightings are far from guaranteed, but the mornings and late afternoon are best, when the water is cooler.
Visit the impressive Lippi falls, which are on the west of Don Khone, very close to 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. 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.
Continue your exploration and ease in to the slow pace of life, observing locals and taking your time. Lunch will be included at a local restaurant. Return to Champasak this afternoon, arriving back at your hotel in time for sunset.
Overnight in Champasak.
Southern Laos Tour: Day 5 – Exploring Champasak (B)
After breakfast you will transfer approximately 15 minutes to Wat Phou. Recognised 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 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. 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.
The rest of the day is free at leisure to enjoy your hotel and beautiful surroundings. The local area is also great for exploring on bikes, which are available at your hotel.
Overnight in Champasak
Southern Laos Tour: Day 6 – Champasak – Paske (Departure) (B)
After breakfast you have time at leisure until it is time to leave. Your driver and guide will transfer you to the airport in Pakse (1 hour away) in time for your onward flight.
Southern Laos Tour: Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs, private basis not join in, please inquire for pricing which varies depending on accommodation standards.
Southern Laos Tour: What’s Included:
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.
Southern Laos Tour: What’s NOT Included:
International and domestic flights (quoted separately).
Meals other than mentioned above.
Camera/video entrance fees.
Travel insurance, tips, visa.
Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.
Southern Laos Tour: Creating Unique Touring Experiences
All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a Laos tour to your individual specifications.