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Southern Laos

Southern Laos is dominated by the Bolaven Plateau, a fertile highland that spreads over four of the region’s provinces. It is the site of Laos’ thriving coffee plantations and also many of the region’s beautiful waterfalls.

Pakse is the ‘big smoke’, a mid-sized town tuned in to travelers’ needs with accommodation and restaurants. It's the base for tours into the Bolaven Plateau and other destinations, and is well endowed with tour and bike-hire companies. Wat Phu Champasak, a striking remnant of the once-mighty Khmer empire, can be reached from here, or from the small town of Champasak.

The mighty Mekong plunges and spills to its widest point in Si Phan Don, which has established itself as a backpacker place-to-be, but also has some exquisite boutique hotel accommodation. Here are opportunities to take relaxing bicycle rides through the local villages, go kayaking or ziplining, or view the increasingly rare Irrawaddy dolphins.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southern Laos.